Malachi 4: 2-6: Malachi 4:2-6 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
2 But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings.
Hark the Herald Angels Sing 31 PH
You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. 3 And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts.
4 Remember the teaching of my servant Moses, the statutes and ordinances that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.
5 Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse.
Joy to the world 40 PH
In the Bleak Midwinter 35 PH
18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
It Came Upon the Midnight Clear 38 PH
Sermon: Our gospel is a familiar story of the magi who visit Jesus. All we know is they came from the East, we don't know there are three but Matthew lists 3 gifts. We've even given them names as part of the lore: Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar. And to add a bit more to the legend, tradition represents Balthasar as king of Arabia or sometimes Ethiopia, Melchior as a king of Persia, and Gaspar as a king of India. Here is what we do know:
Matthew 2: 1-12
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 3 When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.’”
(Oh little Town of Bethlehem 44)
Herod was a half-Jew who was despised by the people of Israel. He had earned favor with the Romans and so held his office through Rome rather than in the true line of Israel Kings. He in fact was so worried about holding on to his throne that he killed two of his sons who he worried were planning to take the crown. He certainly didn't like the idea of a new king! He lies to the magi about also wanting to pay homage to the newborn king.
7 Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” 9 When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11 On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage.
(What Child is This 5)
Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
(We Three Kings 66 PH)Closing The First Nowell 56