Christmas Eve Worship 2020

Prelude – “Mary did you Know” by Brenda Firquin

Confession and Forgiveness

“O Come All Ye Faithful” by Brenda Firquin

The Coming of the Light:  The Holy Gospel according to Saint John 1:1-9

(read by Glenn Eisenbrey)

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

The Gospel of our Lord.

“Christmas Hallelujah” by Susan Johnston and Lindsay Johnston

The Angel Visits Mary:  The Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke 1:26-35

(read by Kenna Markley)

26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 

The Gospel of our Lord.

“The First Noel” – by Brenda Firquin

Mary and Elizabeth:  The Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke 1:41-45

(read by Bob Meyer)

41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

The Gospel of our Lord.

“Mary Did You Know” by Susan Johnston and Lindsay Johnston

Mary’s Song:  The Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke 1:46-56

(read by Cathy Meyer)

46And Mary said,
 “My soul magnifies the Lord,
 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
 48for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
 Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
 49for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
 and holy is his name.
 50His mercy is for those who fear him
 from generation to generation.
 51He has shown strength with his arm;
 he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
 52He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
 and lifted up the lowly;
 53he has filled the hungry with good things,
 and sent the rich away empty.
 54He has helped his servant Israel,
 in remembrance of his mercy,
 55according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
 to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
56And Mary remained with [Elizabeth] about three months and then returned to her home.

The Gospel of our Lord.

“Silent Night” – by Dolores McCloud

Joseph’s Dream:  The Holy Gospel according to Saint Matthew 1:18-24

(read by Paul Kiser)

18Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
 23“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
 and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” 24When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife.

The Gospel of our Lord.

“O Little Town of Bethlehem” by Brenda Firquin

Jesus’ Birth in Bethlehem:  The Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke 2:1-7

(read by Steven Sarson)

1In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 4Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The Gospel of our Lord.

“Silent Night” by Karen Eisenbrey

The Angels and the Shepherds:  The Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke 2:8-14

(read by Jack McFarland)

8In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
 14“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
 and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

The Gospel of our Lord.

“O Holy Night” by Susan Johnston and Lindsay Johnston

The Shepherds Worship Jesus:  The Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke 2:15-20

(read by Rod Firquin)

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

The Gospel of our Lord.

“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” by Brenda Firquin

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Wow – just – wow!  What a doozy of a year this one has been!  Seriously – 2020 has certainly been one wild – weird – and not so wonderful – roller coaster ride – hasn’t it?

There are so many things I thought I might live through and need to respond to as a pastor and a mom – but honestly – a global pandemic wasn’t even on my radar. . .

It feels like our lives have all been turned upside down and inside out – and then tossed around a bit for good (or not so good) measure! 

And – sadly – this year has been filled with just so much bad news.  Really – really wretchedly awful news.  News that breaks our hearts and troubles our souls.  News we  don’t want to hear anymore.  But it just keeps coming and coming and coming! 

The news is filled with so much sorrow.  So much sickness and suffering.  So much pain. So much grief. So many precious – beloved lives lost. So many questions about the future.  Questions about our future.  Questions about our beloved children’s future. The damaged economy.  So much unemployment.  So many hurting people.

So much heartache.  So much loneliness.  So much fear.  So much anger.  So much hurt.  So very – very much hurt! So much seriously – wretchedly awful bad news.  There is just so much bad news these days!  It can be absolutely – positively exhausting.  All of this bad news has a way of weighing you down.  All of this bad news can feel like it is just too much to bear.

And now the cancelled Christmas gatherings.  The missed visits with beloved family and friends.  It may be the right thing to do but Zooming with grandma just isn’t the same as snuggling with her on the couch.  It may be the morally responsible thing to do but Google Meeting with grandpa certainly isn’t the same as lingering with him around the Christmas tree.  The additional disappointments on top of the already difficult year are so hard to take. 

The pain and sorrow can quickly become all we think about.  The bad news can become all we talk about.  Soon our focus can be only on the negative and the bad and the yuck and the terrible and the miserable.  And on the disappointments and on what is wrong in our lives.

We can get lost in the mire of the bad news.   

But then this evening – something absolutely – positively amazing happens.  This evening the news we hear is completely and utterly different from what we have grown so used to hearing.  The news we hear this evening is awesome.  The news we hear is glorious.  The news is extraordinary.  The news we hear promises to transform our lives for all eternity!   This evening the Good News of God’s grace – love – and mercy breaks forth into our lives with all of its radiant – glorious promise!

Hear again the angel’s – amazingly – awesome – life transforming declaration to the shepherds and to us – “Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”

Do not be afraid.  Your Savior has been born.  Your Savior has come into the world.  The Messiah is here.  Our Lord has come to save us from our sinful selves!

This year of all years – we all need to remind ourselves – why we celebrate Christmas.  We celebrate Christmas – because of one incredibly special baby boy who changed the world forever.

The stars in the sky celebrated – his birth.  The angels in heaven rejoiced on his birthday.   Kings journeyed from afar to meet and worship this baby boy.

His birth has changed the lives of billions of people all over the world forever.  Because Jesus was no ordinary baby.  Jesus is the Son of God.  Jesus is our Lord and Savior. 

Jesus was born was so that we might receive the greatest gifts of all – the forgiveness of our sins and the promise of eternal life spent in heaven with our Lord. 

Jesus Christ came to save us from our sinful selves.

We celebrate Christmas because Jesus is our Savior.  We celebrate because we have all received the gifts of God’s grace – love – and forgiveness. 

We celebrate Christmas because Jesus Christ – saved us from our sinful selves and opened the doors of heaven for us all. 

Truly this is the Good News – AMEN.

“What Child is This?” by Brenda Firquin

The Apostles’ Creed

The Prayers of the People

Celebration of Holy Communion

“Joy to the World” by Brenda Firquin

One Reply to “Christmas Eve Worship 2020”

  1. Pastor, very nice “alternate” service. While I missed the normal service feeling of being in the sanctuary the message came through loud and clear. Christmas is time to celebrate the birth of our Savior and for a while, forget all of the world’s woes and know we are not alone.
    Hope you and yours are having a Wonderful Christmas celebration.


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