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December 24, 2022
Theme of the Day
Tonight, we celebrate God’s faithfulness to the world in sending his Son, Jesus Christ. The miracle and mystery of Christmas is this: God’s only begotten Son took on human flesh to save sinners from sin and death. He did it at just the right time and in just the right way. We gather tonight to praise our Lord for his grace and our salvation in Jesus.
Pastor Westendorf’s Welcome
When the time had fully come, God sent his Son
O Come, All Ye Faithful – CW 354
Gathering – Psalm 24
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
The world, and all who live in it;
For he founded it on the seas
And established it on the waters.
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.
They will receive blessing from the Lord
And vindication from God their Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
Who seek your face, God of Jacob.
Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors,
That the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle,
Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors,
That the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty – he is the King of glory.
Lord Almighty, we confess that we are sinners by nature.
We could never stand in your holy presence on our own.
Our hands are not clean and our hearts are not pure.
We have no right to expect your blessing.
And yet, we come boldly into your presence,
Because you sent your Son, the King of glory, to save sinners.
In his name we gather, and in his name we welcome his coming into our world.
We are forgiven in Jesus and have full access to your holy throne in his name.
We thank you for your grace to our world and your forgiveness to sinners.
Receive our praises this night as thanks for all you have done.
Strengthen our weak hands and feeble knees,
That we might serve you in humility and holiness all our days.
Reading and Meditation – Luke 2:1-7
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Let All Together Praise Our God – CW 355
5 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?
6 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.
Reading and Meditation – Luke 2:8-14
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – CW 350
Reading and Meditation – Luke 2:15-20
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Where Shepherds Lately Knelt – CW 345
Lighting of the Candles
Soloist – O Jesus Christ, Your Manger Is – CW 342
Silent Night, Holy Night – CW 337
Almighty God, you made this holy night shine with the brightness of the true light. Grant that as we have known on earth the wonder of that light, we may also behold him in all his glory in the life to come; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those
who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and forever. Amen.
Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
Now dismiss your servants in peace.
For our eyes have seen your salvation,
Which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
A light for revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of your people Israel. Amen.