Welcome: Throughout this Advent season (and we are still in the Advent season until midnight tonight), we have been lighting the candles of the advent wreath without comment. Tonight, we are going to let the Advent wreath speak to us about the celebration to which is has been pointing, Christmas. We will see what each part of the advent wreath and its candles tell us about the birth of Jesus.
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.
Element 1 — The Wreath Itself
Psalm 90:2: Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
John 1:1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 8:58: “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, before Abraham was born, I am!”
Revelation 22:13: I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Video: CW 35 — Of the Father’s Love Begotten
Element 2 — The Prophecy Candle
Genesis 3:14-15: 14So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Isaiah 7:14: Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Isaiah 9:6: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Hymn: CW 23 — O Come, Oh, Come, Emmanuel
Element 3 — The Bethlehem Candle
Micah 5:2: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
Luke 2:1-5: 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.
Hymn: CW 66 — O Little Town of Behtlehem
Element 4 — The Shepherd’s Candle
Luke 2:8-12. 16-18: 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.”
16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
Hymn: CW 54 — Where Shepherds Lately Knelt
Element 5 — The Angel Candle
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.”
Luke 2:13-14: 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
Element 6 — The Christ Candle
Luke 2:6-7: 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.
Acts 10:38: God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
Hymn: CW 62 — Joy to the World
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.
Closing Hymn: CW 60 — Silent Night! Holy Night!
Welcome: We are glad that you could worship with us this afternoon. If you are going to be traveling for this holiday weekend, we wish you the Lord’s blessings. A merry Christmas and a happy new year to you all!
Christmas Day Service: Remember that we will continue to celebrate the birth of Christ tomorrow at 8:30 AM with a special worship service. In this service, we will be taking a look at how the secular world observes and celebrates Christmas and how that helps to testify to the importance of celebrating the birth of our Savior. There will be communion offered. There will be no midweek service in the week that follows Christmas this year.
New Years Schedule: We are offering one opportunity for you to join in thanking our God for his blessings and challenges in the past year and to ask for his guidance in the year to come. On Sunday, January 2 at 8:30 AM we will be having communion services to close out our year. You are invited to worship at this service. We will also be having the same message and communion on the service that will take place on Monday, January 3, at 6:30 PM
Thanks: We would like to thank all those who made our Christmas special. We thank those who helped to decorate the church. We also thank the St. Paul’s Women’s Group for helping to revive our Christmas brunch after the year of Covid.