Christmas Day Worship Service

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December 25, 2021

The Blessing and Call to Worship

P: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.
C: And also with you.

P: In the Name of the Father who sent his Son to save us
C: Let the heights of heav’n adore him, angel hosts his praises sing,

P: In the Name of the Son, who took on human flesh and blood
C: Let powers, dominions bow before him and extol our God and King.

P: In the Name of the Holy Spirit who brought forth life in the womb of a virgin
C: Let no tongue on earth be silent, every voice in concert ring.

P: Let us worship and praise our Triune God. 

Hymn of Praise

Of the Father’s Love Begotten – CW 35

Of the Father’s love begotten 
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega, 
He the source, the ending he,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see 
Evermore and evermore.

Oh, that birth forever blessed 
When the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving, 
Bore the Savior of our race,
And the babe, the world’s Redeemer, 
First revealed his sacred face
Evermore and evermore.

This is he whom heav’n-taught singers 
Sang of old with one accord;
Whom the Scriptures of the prophets 
Promised in their faithful word.
Now he shines, the long-expected; 
Let creation praise its Lord
Evermore and evermore.

Christ, to you, with God the Father, 
And the Spirit ceaselessly
Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving 
And unending praises be,
Honor, glory, and dominion 
And eternal victory
Evermore and evermore.

Confession of Sins

P: An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph, son of David, in a dream and said, 
C: “Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 

P: This morning we have come together to celebrate the birth of the one who would save the people from their sins – sins which we now confess to the Lord.
C: We look for light, but all is darkness; 
  for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. 
Like the blind we grope along the wall, 
  feeling our way like men without eyes. 
At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; 
  among the strong, we are like the dead. 
We all growl like bears; 
  we moan mournfully like doves. 
We look for justice, but find none; 
  for deliverance, but it is far away. 
For our offenses are many in your sight, 
  and our sins testify against us. 
Our offenses are ever with us, 
  and we acknowledge our iniquities: 
rebellion and treachery against the LORD, 
  turning our backs on our God, 
fomenting oppression and revolt, 
  uttering lies our hearts have conceived. 
So justice is driven back, 
  and righteousness stands at a distance; 
truth has stumbled in the streets, 
  honesty cannot enter. 
Truth is nowhere to be found, 
  and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.

P: The LORD looked and was displeased 
  that there was no justice. 
He saw that there was no one, 
  he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; 
so his own arm worked salvation for him, 
  and his own righteousness sustained him.  
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, 
  “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, 
a King who will reign wisely 
  and do what is just and right in the land. 
In his days Judah will be saved 
  and Israel will live in safety. 
This is the name by which he will be called: 
  The Lord our Righteousness.”
C:  “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” which means, “God with us.” 

P:  The day of the Lord our Righteousness’ coming is here. Immanuel – God is with us. God has worked salvation by the perfect life and innocent death of the One born to Mary. Take heart, people of God, our sins have been forgiven! Eternal life is won! Today he opens heaven and gives us his own Son! Together we praise our God!

Hymn of Praise

Let All Together Praise Our God – CW 41

Let all together praise our God 
Before his highest throne;
Today he opens heav’n again 
And gives us his own Son,
  And gives us his own Son.

He leaves his heav’nly Father’s throne, 
Is born an infant small,
And in a manger, poor and lone, 
Lies in a humble stall,
  Lies in a humble stall.

He veils in flesh his pow’r divine 
A servant’s form to take;
In want and lowliness must die 
Who heav’n and earth did make,
  Who heav’n and earth did make.

A wondrous change which he does make: 
He takes our flesh and blood,
And he conceals for sinners’ sake 
His majesty as God,
  His majesty as God.

He serves that I a lord may be – 
A great exchange indeed!
Could Jesus’ love do more for me 
To help me in my need?
  To help me in my need?

For us he opens wide the door 
Of paradise today.
The angel guards the gate no more; 
To God our thanks we pay,
  To God our thanks we pay.

Prayer 

P: Let us pray. Almighty God, grant that the birth of your only Son in the flesh may set us free from our old bondage under the yoke of sin; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  
C: Amen.

The Choir – Glory to God in the Highest

Glory to God in the highest, 
  glory to God in the highest, 
  glory to God in the highest, 
peace to all people on earth.

Fearful were the shepherds, 
  awed and full of dread.
“Do not be afraid,” 
  the shining angel said.
“Come to David’s city, 
  come behold the maid 
and her wondrous baby 
  in a manger laid.”

Gloria in excelsis, 
  gloria in excelsis!

Glory to God in the highest, 
  glory to God in the highest, 
  glory to God in the highest, 
peace to all people on earth.

Word made flesh among us, 
  full of truth and grace.
Light of all in darkness 
  Savior of our race. 
Swaddling clothes adorn him, 
  light of dreary morn. 
Come, let us adore him; 
  Christ our King is born! 

Gloria in excelsis, 
  gloria in excelsis!

Glory to God in the highest, 
  glory to God in the highest, 
  glory to God in the highest, 
peace to all people on earth.

Glory to God in the highest! 
Gloria in excelsis! 
Glory to God in the highest, gloria!

The Gospel of Matthew 

P: Matthew tells us the family and ancestry of how the birth of Jesus Christ came to be. We begin with Joseph.
Women: When Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 

Men: Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

P: It took an angel of the Lord to explain to Joseph how this birth came to be.
Men: “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”

P: Joseph responded – not with words, but with action.
Women: “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.”

Hymn

O Little Town of Bethlehem – CW 65

O little town of Bethlehem, 
How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep 
And dreamless sleep 
The silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth 
The everlasting light.
The hopes and fears 
Of all the years 
Are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary, 
And, gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, 
The angels keep 
Their watch of wond’ring love.
O morning stars, together 
Proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing 
To God the King 
And peace to all the earth.

How silently, how silently 
The wondrous gift is giv’n!
So God imparts 
To human hearts 
The blessings of his heav’n.
No ear may hear his coming, 
But in this world of sin
Where meek souls will 
Receive him still, 
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, 
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin 
And enter in; 
Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels 
The great glad tidings tell;
Oh, come to us, 
Abide with us, 
Our Lord Immanuel!

P:  But as Matthew views the situation, the family is more than just these people in Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary and the baby. His Gospel is…
C: The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

P:  Matthew envisions the family stretching back into history, thousands of years to the very father of the family, Abraham. If you want to talk about “the family,” Matthew says, begin here:
  Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.

P:  Some famous and familiar names there, fourteen generations worth, as Matthew numbers them. More famous names follow as the family history unfolds:
  David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife, Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa, Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah, Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jeconiah  and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.

P: And still another fourteen generations, after the exile to the Christ:
  After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, Abiud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Eliud, Eliud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

P:  Matthew gives us the ancestry of the family of Christ, pointing out that in all of this God has a “family plan”.
C: All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet.

P:  Five times in the infancy of Christ, Matthew uses words which speak of fulfillment. When the wise men were asked where the King of the Jews would be born, the answer was:
Women: “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written.”

P: When Herod gave the orders to kill all boys two years old and under we hear:
Men: Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted.”

P: When the Family was forced to flee from the murderous wrath of King Herod,
C: And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

P: And when, at the end of their sojourn to Egypt, Joseph was led to take his family to Nazareth, rather than back to Bethlehem.
Women: So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

P:  It is only right that Matthew should include all of that history, going all the way back through David to Abraham, as part of the family story, “the book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ” – for in Jesus Christ, Matthew sees the whole history of God’s people brought to FULFILLMENT. 

Hymn

On Christmas Night All Christians Sing – CW 52

On Christmas night all Christians sing
To hear the news the angels bring;
  On Christmas night all Christians sing
  To hear the news the angels bring,
News of great joy, news of great mirth,
News of our merciful King’s birth.

When sin departs before your grace,
Then life and health come in its place.
  When sin departs before your grace,
  Then life and health come in its place.
Angels and saints with joy may sing
All for to see the newborn King.

From out of darkness we have light
Which made the angels sing this night.
  From out of darkness we have light
  Which made the angels sing this night:
“Glory to God and peace to men
Now and forevermore, Amen.”

Sermon – Matthew 1:21-23

  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” – which means, “God with us.”

The Secret of Christmas Is Out 

Confession of Faith

The Explanation – 2nd Article Apostles’ Creed

  I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the virgin Mary, is my Lord. 
  He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won me from all sins, from death and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with his holy, precious blood and with his innocent suffering and death. 
  All this he did that I should be his own, and live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness, just as he has risen from death and lives and rules eternally. 

The Presentation of the Offering

Prayer of the Church for Christmas Day

P:  Father, we praise you for proclaiming to us the message of Christ, your Son, born to redeem us.  We join the heavenly host of angels in lifting up our voices and shouting for joy at the good tidings of peace which you have brought us. We sing your praises for comforting us with the message of salvation.
C: Glory to God in the highest and peace on whom your favor rests.

P: Gracious Lord God, we thank you for fulfilling the message you spoke through the prophets to send your Son to be born of a virgin. We praise you for speaking to us through your Son who is the very radiance of your glory and the exact representation of your being. We rejoice that your Son provided purification for all sins and still sustains all things by his powerful word.
C: Glory to God in the highest and peace on whom your favor rests.

P:  Hear us, Lord, as we bring you our private petitions.

Silent prayer

P:  Merciful Father in heaven, as we today receive the assurance of our salvation in the blessed Sacrament of the Altar, help us recognize and appreciate the bond of faith that unites us.  
C:  Preserve among us the right understanding and use of the Means of Grace, and assist us in passing on these precious treasures to the generations yet to come. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Sung to the melody It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Our Father, Lord, on heav’ns high throne,  
Most holy be your name. 
Your kingdom come; your will be done
On earth, in heav’n the same.
Give us this day the food we need,
Forgiven may we be;
Into temptation do not lead; 
From evil set us free.

Yours is the kingdom, unto you 
In grateful love we bow,
And yours the pow’r, Lord, let us view
Your mighty presence now.
The glory yours; your praise be sung
By angel hosts and men
In ev’ry land, by ev’ry tongue 
Forevermore! Amen.  

The Order of Holy Communion

P: Praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In love he has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. When the time had fully come, he sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ. To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and thanks and honor and glory for ever and ever.

Rejoice, Rejoice This Happy Morn – CW 49

Rejoice, rejoice this happy morn!
A Savior unto us is born,
The Christ, the Lord of glory.
His lowly birth in Bethlehem
The angels from on high proclaim
And sing redemption’s story.
My soul, Extol
God’s great favor; 
Bless him ever
For salvation.
Give him praise and adoration.

P: Our Lord Jesus Christ on the night he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body, which is given for you: Do this in remembrance of me.”
  Then he took the cup, gave thanks and gave it to them saying: “Drink from it all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, whenever you drink it in remembrance of me.”

Distribution of the Lord’s Supper

Distribution Hymns

A Great and Mighty Wonder – CW 36

A great and mighty wonder, 
A glorious mystery:
A virgin bears an infant 
Who veils his deity.
  Repeat the hymn again:
“To God on high be glory 
And peace on earth to men.”

The Word becomes incarnate 
And yet remains on high,
And cherubim sing anthems 
To shepherds from the sky.
  Repeat the hymn again:
“To God on high be glory 
And peace on earth to men.”

While thus they sing your monarch, 
Those bright angelic bands,
Rejoice, O vales and mountains, 
And oceans, clap your hands.
  Repeat the hymn again:
“To God on high be glory 
And peace on earth to men.”

Since all he comes to ransom, 
By all be he adored,
The infant born in Bethl’em, 
The Savior and the Lord.
  Repeat the hymn again:
“To God on high be glory 
And peace on earth to men.”

All idols then shall perish 
And Satan’s lying cease,
And Christ shall raise his scepter, 
Decreeing endless peace.
  Repeat the hymn again:
“To God on high be glory 
And peace on earth to men.”

Once Again My Heart Rejoices – CW 37

Once again my heart rejoices
As I hear 
Far and near 
Sweetest angel voices.
“Christ is born!” their choirs are singing
Till the air 
Ev’rywhere 
Now with joy is ringing.

Hear! The conqueror has spoken:
“Now the foe, 
Sin and woe, 
Death and hell are broken!”
God is man, man to deliver,
And the Son 
Now is one 
With our blood forever.

Should we still fear God’s displeasure,
Who, to save, 
Freely gave 
His most precious treasure?
To redeem us he has given
His own Son 
From the throne 
Of his might in heaven.

God becomes the victim, taking
Mankind’s place 
By his grace, 
Full atonement making.
For our life his own he tenders,
And his grace 
All our race 
Fit for glory renders.

Softly from his lowly manger 
Jesus calls 
One and all,
“You are safe from danger. 
Children, from the sins that grieve you
You are freed; 
All you need
I will surely give you.”

Come, then, banish all your sadness!
One and all, 
Great and small, 
Come with songs of gladness;
We shall live with him forever
There on high 
In that joy 
Which will vanish never.

The Departing Prayer

P: Almighty God, you have filled us with the new light of the Word who became flesh and lived among us. Let the light of our faith shine in all we do; through Jesus Christ our Lord, the One who was born this day.
C: Amen.

The Christmas Benediction

P: May he who by his incarnation gathered into one, things earthly and heavenly, fill us with such joy that comes with the knowledge of the forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life. And the blessing of God Almighty: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you always.
C: Amen.

Closing Hymn

Joy to the World – CW 62

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let ev’ry heart prepare him room
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let all their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness
And wonders of his love,
And wonders of his love,
And wonders, wonders of his love.