Christmas Eve Worship Service

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December 24, 2021

Call to Worship

P:  In the name of the Father who sent his Son.
In the name of the Son who took on flesh.
In the name of the Holy Spirit who brought forth life in the womb of a virgin.  
C:  Amen.  

P: This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 
C: If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 

P: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 
C: If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

P: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 
C: If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. 

P: Let us confess our sins because God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 
All: Almighty God, you have called us into the light of your truth and life, but we have loved the darkness of sin. We have filled our lives with every kind of evil. We cannot even begin to count our sins, which we have tried to hide from you. We appeal to your mercy to forgive us for the sake of Jesus Christ who was born to save us.  

P: God knew we were lost in the darkness of sin and death. He did not leave us hopeless and terrified. He sent his light to shine in the darkness in order to forgive our sins and save us. The light from heaven is Jesus Christ, God’s very own Son. He came to let the light of God’s forgiveness shine on us. Because of Jesus’ life and death, God declares we are not condemned for our sins. Your sins are forgiven!
C:  Amen! We come this holy night to rejoice in the Christ of Christmas.  

P:  Let us pray. O God, you caused this holy night to shine with the brightness of the true light. Bless us as we again contemplate the mystery that is Christmas. Brighten our journey through life with your continual presence. Bring us at last to the peace, life, and joy you have won for us in heaven. We pray in the name of the one who is the Light of the world, Jesus Christ, whose name is Immanuel.  
C:  Amen.  

The Letters of Christmas

Christmas – Luke 1:26-31

  In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
  Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with CHILD and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.”

Gentle Mary Laid Her Child – CW 56 – st. 1 & 3

Gentle Mary laid her CHILD 
Lowly in a manger;
There he lay, the undefiled, 
To the world a stranger.
Such a babe in such a place –
Can he be the Savior?
Ask the saved of all the race 
Who have found his favor.

Gentle Mary laid her CHILD 
Lowly in a manger;
He is still the undefiled, 
But no more a stranger.
Son of God, of humble birth, 
Beautiful the story;
Praise his name in all the earth, 
Hail the King of glory!

CHristmas – John 3:13

No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from HEAVEN – the Son of Man.

From Heaven Above to Earth I Come – CW 38 – st. 1-3

“From HEAV’N above to earth I come 
To bear good news to ev’ry home;
Glad tidings of great joy I bring, 
Whereof I now will say and sing:

“To you this night is born a child 
Of Mary, chosen virgin mild;
This little child of lowly birth 
Shall be the joy of all the earth.

“This is the Christ, our God most high, 
Who hears your sad and bitter cry;
He will himself your Savior be 
From all your sins to set you free.

ChRistmas – Colossians 1:21-22

  Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has RECONCILED you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.

Hark the Herald Angels Sing – CW 61 – st. 1 & 3 

Hark! The herald angels sing, 
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth and mercy mild, 
God and sinners RECONCILED!”
Joyful, all you nations rise, 
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’ angelic host proclaim, 
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! The herald angels sing, 
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail, the heav’nly Prince of Peace! 
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings, 
Ris’n with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by, 
Born that we no more may die,
Born to raise us from the earth, 
Born to give us second birth.
Hark! The herald angels sing, 
“Glory to the newborn King!”

ChrIstmas – Isaiah 7:14

  Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him IMMANUEL.

Peace Came to Earth – CWS 707

Peace came to earth at last that chosen night 
When angels clove the sky with song and light 
And God embodied love and sheathed his might- 
Who could but gasp: Immanuel! 
  Who could but sing: Immanuel!

And who could be the same for having held 
The infant in their arms and later felt 
The wounded hands and side, all doubts dispelled- 
Who could but sigh: Immanuel! 
  Who could but shout: Immanuel!

You show the Father none has ever seen, 
In flesh and blood you bore our griefs and pain, 
In bread and wine you visit us again – 
Who could but see: Immanuel! 
  Who could but thrill: Immanuel!

How else could I have known you, O my God! 
How else could I have loved you, O my God! 
How else could I embrace you, O my God! 
Who could but pray: Immanuel! 
  Who could but praise: Immanuel!

ChriStmas – Luke 2:8

  And there were SHEPHERDS living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

Where Shepherds Lately Knelt – CW 54 – st. 1, 2, 4

Where SHEPHERDS lately knelt and kept the angel’s word,
I come in half-belief, a pilgrim strangely stirred;
But there is room and welcome there for me,
  But there is room and welcome there for me.

In that unlikely place I find him as they said:
Sweet newborn Babe, how frail! and in a manger bed,
A still, small voice to cry one day for me,
  A still, small voice to cry one day for me.

Can I, will I forget how Love was born, and burned
Its way into my heart unasked, unforced, unearned,
To die, to live, and not alone for me,
  To die, to live, and not alone for me?

ChrisTmas – Psalm 33:4

  For the word of the Lord is right and TRUE; he is faithful in all he does. 

Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful – CW 55 – st. 1-3

Oh, come, all ye faithful, 
Joyful and triumphant,
Oh, come ye, oh, come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold him, 
Born the King of angels.
Oh, come, let us adore him, 
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Oh, come, let us adore him, 
Christ the Lord.

God from TRUE God, and 
Light from Light eternal,
Born of a virgin, to earth he comes,
Only begotten 
Son of God the Father.
Oh, come, let us adore him, 
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Oh, come, let us adore him, 
Christ the Lord.

Sing, choirs of angels, 
Sing in exultation;
Sing, all ye citizens of heav’n above.
Glory to God, all 
Glory in the highest.
Oh, come, let us adore him, 
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Oh, come, let us adore him, 
Christ the Lord.

ChrIstMas – Luke 2:7

  And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a MANGER because there was no room for them in the inn. 

See in Yonder Manger Low – CW 58 – st. 1-2

See in yonder MANGER low, 
Born for us on earth below,
See-the gentle Lamb appears, 
Promised from eternal years.
Hail the ever blessed morn; 
Hail redemption’s happy dawn;
Sing through all Jerusalem, 
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Lo, within a stable lies 
He who built the starry skies,
He who, throned in height sublime, 
Sits amid the cherubim.
Hail the ever blessed morn; 
Hail redemption’s happy dawn;
Sing through all Jerusalem, 
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

 ChristmAs – Luke 2:13-14

  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the ANGEL, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

Angels We Have Heard on High – CW 63 – st.1

ANGELS we have heard on high,
Sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply,
Echoing their joyous strains.
Gloria in excelsis Deo; 
Gloria in excelsis Deo.

ChristmaS – Titus 2:11

  For the grace of God that brings SALVATION has appeared to all men.

Offering

Lighting of the Candles

The Pastor will light his candle from the “Christ” candle in the middle of the Advent wreath. The ushers will light their candles from the Pastor’s candle and then light the candle of the worshipper in each pew nearest to the aisle. DO NOT TIP THE LIGHTED CANDLES. Tip the unlighted candle toward the lighted one.

Silent Night

Silent night! Holy night!  
All is calm, all is bright,
Round yon virgin mother and Child. 
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace, 
  Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night! Holy night! 
Shepherds quake at the sight;
Glories stream from heaven afar,  
Heav’nly host sing: “Alleluia,”
Christ the Savior, is born! 
  Christ, the Savior is born!

Silent night! Holy night! 
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face, 
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth, 
  Jesus, Lord at thy birth.

Prayer

C: What child is this who, laid to rest, 
On Mary’s lap is sleeping? 
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet 
While shepherds watch are keeping?

P: Oh gracious and almighty Father, we thank you for giving us this opportunity to hear your word this evening. Through your Word, we have been given the privilege to ponder the Babe of Bethlehem as Mary once did.

C: This, this is Christ the King, 
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing. 
Haste, haste to bring him laud, 
The babe, the Son of Mary!

Why lies he in such mean estate, 
Where oxen now are feeding?
Good Christians, fear; for sinners here 
The silent Word is pleading.

P: You sent Jesus to lie in such mean estate to be the Savior of the world, to deliver all from the curse of sin, the power of death, and the torment of hell. He took our place. He was born under the law to set us free. He became the innocent lamb of sacrifice. He came to die and rise again in order that we might live eternally.

C: Nails, spear shall pierce him through; 
The cross he’ll bear for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh, 
The babe, the Son of Mary!

P: As the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising you for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told, lead us to do the same. Firmly implant this good news in our hearts and fill us with an eager desire to spread the Word concerning what we have heard tonight.

C: So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh; 
Come, peasant, king, to own him.
The King of kings salvation brings; 
Let loving hearts enthrone him.
Raise, raise the song on high; 
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy, for Christ is born, 
The babe, the Son of Mary!

Lord’s Prayer

Sung to the traditional tune of Away in a Manger

Our Father in heaven, all praise to your name!
Your kingdom among us, your will done the same
By mortals and angels. Come, Lord, reign alone;
Oh, hear us and bless us from heaven’s high throne.

The bread that we yearn for provide us each day;
As we forgive others, our sins take away;
In times of temptation, to lead us be near;
From evil deliver your children most dear.

For yours is the kingdom; o’er all things you reign.
And yours is the power; all things you maintain.
To you be the glory, resounding again
From all of creation, forever! Amen.

Note: At this time, our worshippers are asked to carefully extinguish the candles. Please keep them upright until any melted wax has hardened. You may deposit them in the containers at the entryway as you leave.

Benediction

P: The Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, bless you and keep you.
  The Everlasting Father make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
    The Prince of Peace look upon you with favor and give you peace.
C: Amen. We rejoice this night in hearing the CHRISTMAS story.