Christmas Eve Service (12-24-2020) — The “Wrong” Symbols for Christmas
So much of this year has just seemed wrong. We have had our lives upended. We had to shut the doors of church for over two months. We did not have am Easter service in our church. So it seems fitting that, as we celebrate Christmas, something has gone wrong. Symbols that have “nothing” to do with Christmas have stepped forward to insert themselves into our celebration.
Opening Hymn: 55 — Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful
Pastor: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
Congregation: (Sung) Amen.
P: God invites us to come into his presence with humble and penitent hearts. Therefore, let us acknowledge our sinfulness and ask him to forgive us.
C: Holy and merciful Father, I confess that I am by nature sinful, and that I have disobeyed you in my thoughts, words, and actions. I have done what is evil and failed to do what is good. For this I deserve your punishment both now and in eternity. But I am truly sorry for my sins, and trusting in my Savior Jesus Christ, I pray: Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.
P: God, our heavenly Father, has been merciful to us and has given his only Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Therefore, as a called servant of Christ and by his authority, I forgive you all of your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the Son of Man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.
“Wrong” Symbol #1 — The Shamrock
John 1:1-5: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Video: CW 35 — Of the Father’s Love Begotten Sung by Koine
“Wrong” Symbol #2 — The Birthday Cake
Luke 2:1-7: In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to their own town to register.
4So 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. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and 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.
Video: O Holy Night Sung by Josh Groban
“Wrong” Symbol #3 — The Menorah
Luke 2:8-12: 8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Hymn: CW 63 — Angels We Have Heard on High
“Wrong” Symbol #4 — The Valentine
Luke 2:19: Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
1 John 4:16-19: God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19We love because he first loved us.
Hymn: CW 62 — Joy to the World
“Wrong” Symbol #5 — The Cross
Luke 2:34-35: 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
Video: It’s About the Cross Sung by Go Fish
“Wrong” Symbol #6 — The Empty Tomb
Luke 1:30-33: 30But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Hymn: CW 61 — Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
M: On this holy day, dear Father, we rejoice to hear the good news of great joy that a Savior has been born for us. For fulfilling your prophecies and in the fullness of time sending your Son to be our Savior, we give you our thanks and praise.
C: Unto us a child is born! Unto us a Son is given!
M: What a great mystery of our faith this is: that God has become fully human for our salvation! Even though he is the all-powerful Lord of all, he is wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.
C: Help us always believe that this precious child was born as our substitute to be our Savior.
M: In the midst of our joy, we grieve for the many people in our world who do not know that Jesus has come to bring them forgiveness and healing. As the shepherds spread abroad the good news of the birth of the Savior born for all the world, may we also make use of the unique opportunities this holiday presents to tell others of what we have seen and heard concerning the child.
C: Grant that the true peace between God and fallen mankind may comfort all people.
M: Hear us, Lord, as we bring you our private petitions.
M: As the angels sang out their praise, move us also to sing out our praise to you, today and every day, as the joy of Christmas remains in our hearts.
C: Glory to God in the highest! Amen.
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.
P: The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
The Lord look upon you with his favor and give you peace.
C: (Sung) Amen! Amen! Amen!
Closing Hymn: CW 60 — Silent Night! Holy Night!