Christmas Eve Worship Service: Nativity of Our Lord: 24 December 2020

I pray this worship shines bright in your homes and witnesses to the gift of the Christ child in your lives.

Peace, Pastor Chris Lee

Order of Worship, Nativity of Our Lord, December 24, 2020

Prelude: “Zu Bethlehem Geboren” (“Born in Bethlehem”) – Walcha. Organist, Pam Edwards.

Confession and Forgiveness

Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God, who was in the beginning, who makes a dwelling among us, who covers us with justice and mercy. Amen.

Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.

God of goodness and lovingkindness, we confess that we have sinned against you and our neighbors. We have turned away from your invitation to new life. We have turned away from the lowly and downtrodden. In your abundant mercy, forgive us our sins, those we know and those known only to you, for the sake of the one who came to live among us, Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.

Hear the good news of peace and salvation! God forgives us all our sins, not through our own work, but through ☩ Jesus Christ, made known to all people. With all who come to the manger, rejoice in this amazing gift of grace. Amen.

Opening: ELW 283- “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” all verses.

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.

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.

Sermon: Pastor Chris Lee

Hymn of the Day: ELW 270- “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” all verses.

Prayers of Intercession

Joining our voices with the song of the angels, let us pray for the church, the world, and all who are in need.

The shepherds sing, “Jesus Christ is born!” Let your church throughout the world proclaim this good news, over the hills and everywhere. Unite the voices of all your faithful people in songs of praise and rejoicing. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Heaven and nature sing, “Joy to the world!” Give respite to flocks, fields, and those who tend them. Come near to us in the beauty of nighttime, the shining of the stars, and the hush of a world at rest. May our wonder at your creation rouse our care for all the earth. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

The angels sing, “Peace on earth!” Come quickly to still the strife of this world. Hush the noise of war and violence in places of unrest especially Rock Island and the Quad-Cities area. Inspire leaders of nations to seek lasting peace and sustainable provision for all in their care. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Mary sings melodies of comfort to her newborn child. Bring rest and reassurance to those facing struggles this night. Shelter travelers and those without homes. Console those who lie awake due to pain or anxiety. Heal those who are sick or hurting especially Candi Wheeler; Susan Leyendecker; Bryant Crawford; Helen Schubert; Woody and Luellen Kasselman; Greg, Judy and Kristine Mayer; Mariah Pearson; Jeanna LaRue; Louise Larson; Karen Bemowski; and Dan Wolever. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Love sings through the sound of a new baby’s cry. Bless new parents and expectant parents. Comfort those who long for children, especially those running out of hope or options. Surround families of every shape and size with your love and care. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

The heavenly chorus sings, “Glory to God in the highest!” We give you thanks for all the saints who have proclaimed your glory in word and deed. Let us join them this night in joyful praise around your eternal throne especially with Dylan McCalester. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

God of all mercy, come quickly to us with grace upon grace as we lift these and all our prayers to you, in the name of Jesus.


Offering: ELW 281- “Silent Night,” all verses. Vocalists” Brittany Anderson & Pam Edwards. Signers: Claire, Grace & Luke Gustafson; Amaya & Abbigail Lee; Alexa Wehrheim; & Vivian Wright.

The Lord’s Prayer

Communion Anthem: ELW 294- “In the Bleak Midwinter,” all verses. Vocalist: Brittany Anderson.

Prayer after Communion

We give you thanks, gracious God, that you have once again fed us from your very self with the body and blood of Christ. Through this mystery, send us forth to proclaim your promise to a world in need, through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.


Almighty God, who sent the Holy Spirit to Mary, proclaimed joy through the angels, sent the shepherds with good news, and led the magi by a star, bless you this day ☩ through the Word made flesh. Amen.

Sending Hymn: ELW 267- “Joy to the World,” all verses.

Lighting of the Candle.


Go in peace. Share the good news and the gift of Christ. Thanks be to God.

Postlude: “Prelude in Classic Style,”- Young. Organist: Pam Edwards.

Facebook link to Christmas Eve service:

Image credits: Nativity, free image by Gerd Altmann, Pixabay and Baby Jesus, free image by Falco, Pixabay.

Music credits:

Organist/Pianist: Pam Edwards. Song leaders: Brittany & Miriam Anderson.

“Zu Bethlehem Geboren” (“Born in Bethlehem”) – Walcha.

“O Come, All Ye Faithful.” Text: attr. John Francis Wade, 1711 – 1786; tr. Frederick Oakeley, 1802 – 1880, sts. 1, 3-4; tr. unknown, st. 2. Music: attr. John Francis Wade. Public domain.

“Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.” Text: Charles Wesley, 1707 – 1788, alt.. Music: Felix Mendelssohn, 1809 – 1847; arr. William H. Cummings, 1831 – 1915. Public domain.

“Silent Night.” Text: Joseph Mohr, 1792 – 1849; tr. John F. Young, 1820 – 1885. Music: Franz Gruber, 1787 – 1863. Public domain.

“In the Bleak Midwinter.” Text: Christina Georgina Rossetti, 1830 -1894. Music: Gustav Holst, 1874 – 1934. Public domain.

“Joy to the World.” Text: Isaac Watts, 1674 – 1748. Music: English melody, 18th cent.; arr. Lowell Mason, 1792 – 1872. Public domain.

“Prelude in Classic Style,”- Young.

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