Blessings to you all this holiday season and this Christmas Day! Attached is our delightful worship service from Christmas Eve afternoon. Special thanks to all our dancers and musicians that thankfully used their talents to enhance our worship service. Welcome, Lord Jesus.
Peace, Pastor Chris Lee
Order of Worship Christmas Eve 2021:
Prelude: “Angels’ Carol” – Rutter
Proclamation of the Birth of Christ
On this holy night we contemplate the humility and tender generosity of God, who comes to us as a child and whose first bed is a manger.
Almighty God, the creator of all, so overflows with love that God empties God’s self and becomes one of us
To you is born this day a Savior, who is the anointed of God, our Lord.
We have been waiting, watching, anticipating your advent for the
salvation of the world, Jesus.
With the shepherds, with the animals in the stall, with all those around the world, we welcome you.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come.
In winter’s deepest night, we welcome the light of the Christ child. Isaiah declares that the light of the long-promised king will illumine the world and bring endless peace and justice. Paul reminds us that the grace of God through Jesus Christ brings salvation to all people. The angels declare that Jesus’ birth is good and joyful news for everyone, including lowly shepherds. Filled with the light that shines in our lives, we go forth to share the light of Christ with the whole world.
Opening Hymn: ELW 283 – “O Come All Ye Faithful.”
Hymn of Praise: ELW 289 – “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, you made this holy night shine with the brightness of the true Light. Grant that here on earth we may walk in the light of Jesus’ presence and in the last day wake to the brightness of his glory; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
First Reading: Isaiah 9:2-7
This poem promises deliverance from Assyrian oppression, a hope based on the birth of a royal child with a name full of promise. While Judah’s king will practice justice and righteousness, the real basis for faith lies in God’s passion for the people: The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this!
2The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
on them light has shined.
3You have multiplied the nation,
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as people exult when dividing plunder.
4For the yoke of their burden,
and the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
5For all the boots of the tramping warriors
and all the garments rolled in blood
shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
6For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7His authority shall grow continually,
and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time onward and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Second Reading: Titus 2:11-14
The appearance of God’s grace in Jesus Christ brings salvation for all humanity. Consequently, in the present we live wisely and justly while also anticipating the hope of our Savior’s final appearance.
11The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, 12training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, 13while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 14He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.
Gospel Acclamation: ELW 247 – “Come Now, O Prince of Peace.”
Gospel: Luke 2:1-20
God’s greatest gift comes as a baby in a manger. Angels announce the “good news of great joy” and proclaim God’s blessing of peace.
1In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 4Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
8In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
14“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Gospel Response: ELW 247 – ” Come Now, O Prince of Peace.”
Sermon: Pastor Chris Lee
Hymn of the Day: ELW 270 – “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”
Prayers of Intercession
Joining our voices with the heavenly host and Christians throughout time and space, let us pray for the church, the world, and all in need.
Love proclaims that a Savior has been born to us! Inspire your church throughout the world to proclaim the good news of Jesus’ birth to all who seek salvation, hope, and new life. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.
Love whispers to a weary world that the time for rest and restoration has come. Maintain healthy cycles of wake and sleep for all creatures. Where light pollution disrupts natural rhythms, encourage new practices. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.
Love cries to a warring world that the time for peace is at hand. Direct those in power who make decisions on behalf of others, that they nurture and sustain all that is healthy, good, and holy. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.
Love sings through the wails of a newborn baby. Respond to all who cry out in pain, despair, or need this night especially Sky Stoutt; Gary Berg; Jeanna LaRue; Sarah Scott; Bruce and Sandy Wright; Betty Lee; Paige Wheeler; Julie Prenatt; David Neu; Sheri Stoutt; Nan Hibbs; BrittaMaddox; Everett Noah; Libby Hofsas; Noah Stoutt; Shelley Collis;Deb Schafer; Richard Hotchkiss; Nancy and Bob Bosco; Charysse and Adean Heritage and Family; Randy McIntyre; Karen Bemowski; Marilyn Hubbard; Helen Schubert, and all those we name before you now, aloud or in our hearts…
Bring comfort to those for whom separation, grief, or loss makes the Christmas season especially difficult. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.
Love murmurs words of comfort to a newborn child and exhausted parents. Bless new and expectant parents or caregivers, especially those who are alone or afraid this night. Pour out your love upon families of every kind. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.
God’s ever-present love is proclaimed through the faithful who came before us. We give you thanks for Mary, John the baptizer, Elizabeth his mother, Joseph the dreamer, and all who point toward your love. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.
Rejoicing in your Word made flesh among us, we commend these prayers to you, confident of your grace and love made known to us in Jesus Christ, our Savior.
The Lord’s Prayer
Communion: ELW 279 – “O Little Town of Bethlehem.
Communion: ELW 276 – “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly.”
Prayer after Communion
We thank you, wondrous God, for Jesus, God with us, in these gifts of bread and wine. As we have shared this feast of love, strengthen us to share your love with all the world. In Jesus’ name we pray.
“Silent Night” with signing and the lighting of candles.
The God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, through Christ Jesus, the Word made flesh.
Sending Hymn: ELW 267 – “Joy to the World.”
Christ is born. Go tell it on the mountain and everywhere!
Thanks be to God.
Postlude: “The Sussex Carol,” – Lind.
Facebook link to First Evangelical Lutheran Church Christmas Eve worship service:
Image credits: All photos by Therese Guise: First Evangelical Lutheran Church Christmas Walk, 2021
Senior Choir, Signers, and Musicians
“Angels’ Carol” – John Rutter (One License 25686). Text: © 1988, Hinshaw Music, Inc.. All rights reserved. Permission to podcast/stream and print the music in this service obtained from One License with license #A-704843.
“O Come All Ye Faithful.” Public domain.
“Angels We Have Heard on High.” Public domain.
“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” Public domain.
The Lord’s Prayer, Malotte
“O Little Town of Bethlehem. Public domain.
“Infant Holy, Infant Lowly.” Public domain.
“Silent Night.” Public domain.
“Joy to the World.” Public domain.
“The Sussex Carol,” – Richard Lind. (One License #AF20201617) On December Five and Twenty. Tune: Setting © 1994 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Permission to podcast/stream and print the music in this service obtained from One License with license #A-704843.
Sundays and Seasons.com. Copyright 2022 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Reprinted/ streamed with permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SAS006904. Duplication in any form is prohibited without permission or valid license from the copyright administrator.