12.24.2020 Christmas Eve

In winter’s deepest night, we welcome the light of the Christ child. In this time of world-wide crisis, congregations throughout this church are not able to gather for worship as the body of Christ. While we cannot be together in person, we can hear the word of God and hold each other in prayer. Isaiah declares that the light of the long-promised king will illumine the world and bring endless peace and justice. Paul reminds us that the grace of God through Jesus Christ brings salvation to all people. The angels declare that Jesus’ birth is good and joyful news for everyone, including lowly shepherds. Filled with the light that shines in our lives, we go forth to share the light of Christ with the whole world.

Welcome to Worship

Merry Christmas!  Below you will find prayers, songs, readings, and a message to help you celebrate the birth of Christ.  Know that God is with you as you watch the videos and/or read the words that are on the screen. Whether you are alone or with others, we hope that you can feel each other’s presence, and the presence of God, as we worship in new ways on this holy day.  


(Click video to play)

Opening Hymn                    
Joy to the World

(Click video to play)

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!  Let earth receive her king; let ev’ry heart prepare him room and heav’n and nature sing, and heav’n and nature sing, and heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!  Let all their songs employ, while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains repeat the sounding joy, repeat the sounding joy, repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sin and sorrow grow nor thorns infest the ground; he comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found, far as the curse is found, far as, far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove the glories of his righteousness and wonders of his love, and wonders of his love, and wonders, wonders of his love.

Arrival of the Light & Lighting of the Christmas Candle

(Click video to play)

You are invited to light candles on your Advent wreath during this video.  If you do not have an Advent wreath, enjoy the light of the candles as the confirmation students read these words.

We have been waiting for this day! We have prepared ourselves for this special day. Advent hope moves us; Advent peace stills us; Advent joy stirs us; Advent love leads us, that we might welcome Jesus.

Because injustice and despair threaten to overwhelm us, we pray for hope… 
(Light the first candle in your Advent wreath.)

Because there is so much conflict and hostility in our world, we pray for peace…
(Light the second candle in your Advent wreath.)

Because grief and loss weigh so heavily, we pray for joy…
(Light the third candle in your Advent wreath.)

Because hatred is still so strong, and because people all over the world are suffering, we pray for love.
(Light the fourth candle in your Advent wreath.)

God has come to us as a child, to dwell with us, and to walk with us.
(Light the Christ Candle in your Advent wreath, often a candle in the center.)

As the candles burn brightly and light our path, let us live as those who let hope, peace, joy, and love reign in our lives. On Christmas Day and every day, let us live as those who have the Christ’s light burning inside us.  

May the light and the fire from these candles burn away everything that is preventing the God of hope and peace and joy and love from being born among us. 

Loved Children of God, be not afraid, even now — even now — the light of Christ is overwhelming the world, on earth as it is in heaven! Rejoice, a Savior is born.

Prayer of the Day

Let us prayAlmighty God, you made this holy night shine with the brightness of the true Light. Grant that here on earth we may walk in the light of Jesus’ presence and in the last day wake to the brightness of his glory; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hymn of Praise            
O Come, All Ye Faithful

(Click video to play)

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant!  O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem; come and behold him, born the king of angels:

O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord!

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation, sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!  Glory to God in the highest:

O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord!

Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning; Jesus, to thee be glory giv’n!  Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing:

O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord!

First Reading                              
Isaiah 9:2-7

(Click video to play)

2The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined.  3You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder.  4For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.  5For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.  6For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  7His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom.  He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Psalm 96

(Click video to play)

O sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples.
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be revered above all gods.

For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.
Honor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it.  Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy

before the LORD; for he is coming, for he is coming to judge the earth.  He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth.  Word of God, word of Life.

Thanks be to God.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

(Click video to play)

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 angelic hosts proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!”  Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn king!”

Christ, by highest heav’n adored, Christ, the everlasting Lord, late in time behold him come, offspring of a virgin’s womb.  Veiled in flesh the Godhead see!  Hail, incarnate deity!  Pleased as man with us to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel!  Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn king!”

Hail the heav’n-born 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 each child of earth, born to give us second birth.  Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn king!”

Second Reading            
Titus 2:11-14

(Click video to play)

11The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, 12training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, 13while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 14He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

Children’s Moment

(Click video to play)

Mary Did You Know

(Click video to play)


(Click video to play)

Who are these angels who come to earth, bearing the news of the Christ child’s birth? 

Who are these shepherds who run to see, and worship the babe on bended knee?  Who is this child, so small, so slight, of whom the angels sang that night? 

Who is this king, a manger his throne, who humbles himself to make us his own?  Who is this God who sends a Son into our midst, the promised one?

Gospel Acclamation   
Angels We Have Heard on High ~ (verses 1 & 3)

(Click video to play)                                                 

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.

Come to Bethlehem and see him whose birth the angels sing; come, adore on bended knee Christ the Lord, the newborn king.  Gloria in excelsis Deo; gloria in excelsis Deo.

Gospel and Message               
Luke 2:1–20

(Click video to play)

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.
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!”
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.

Hymn of the Day               
Away in a Manger

(Click video to play)

Away in a manger, no crib for his bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head; the stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing; the baby awakes, but little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.  I love you, Lord Jesus; look down from the sky and stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask you to stay close by me forever and love me, I pray.  Bless all the dear children in your tender care and fit us for heaven, to live with you there.

Thanksgiving for the Word: Christmas

(Click video to play)

Holy God, Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, at the birth of time your Word brought light into the world, and throughout the ages, you proclaim newness of life.

For your wondrous Word, we thank you, O God.

In the fullness of time, your Word became flesh, to shine in our world’s darkness, to speak peace to all people, and to welcome us as members of your family. For your loving Word, we adore you, O God.

Grant us now the gift of your Spirit, that held, nourished, and protected by your Word, we may live as your children, bearing your goodness throughout the world.

For your powerful Word, we praise you, O God.

All glory to you, holy God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayers of Intercession & The lord’s prayer

(Click video to play)

As we celebrate Christmas, let us praise God for the birth of our Savior and pray for all in need.

Mighty and merciful God, we praise you for bringing your Word to birth among us. Strengthen with your Spirit all the baptized, so that even where the faithful cannot assemble for worship, the whole church can together honor the birth of Jesus.  Lord, hear our prayer.

We praise you for each day that knows peace and welcomes justice. Inspire leaders of nations to seek peace where there is war and violence. Guard ambassadors, relief workers, and military personnel the world over Make our country, neighborhoods, and homes places of peace.  Lord, hear our prayer.

We praise you for the benefits of light available in our homes and shining on our trees. Accompany those who enjoy no such light, and protect all who labor in the darkness on behalf of others.  Lord, hear our prayer.

We praise you for every sign of your loving presence, and we pray for all who suffer. Heal the sick. Feed the hungry. Shelter the homeless and the refugee. Visit those in prison. Comfort mourners.  Lord, hear our prayer.

We pray for the millions who are afflicted with Covid-19. Comfort the millions of people who have lost loved ones who, without the presence of this virus, would have had more time with them.  Uphold physicians, nurses, and all health care workers, and provide medical facilities for everyone.  Lord, hear our prayer.

We praise you, the almighty God born on the earth; and so you transformed the cosmos. Come to each of us, and receive our silent prayers.  Lord, hear our prayer.

We praise you for all the saints who have proclaimed your glory in word and deed, especially those we remember in our hearts. With them, let us sing your praise, now and forever.  Lord, hear our prayer.

To you, Mighty God, Prince of peace, wonderful Counselor, we offer our praises for your grace upon grace. Receive our prayers in the name of the one who was born to live and die and rise again for us, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us.

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.  Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.  For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Sending Hymn & Lighting of Candles     
Silent Night

(Click video to play)

You are invited to light a candle and sing along.  If you do not have a candle, enjoy the light of the candles that are in the pictures you will see in this video.  Know that children of God all around the world are lighting candles and singing this song on this holy day.  The light of Christ unites us.

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 hosts 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 your holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus, Lord, at your birth, Jesus, Lord, at your birth. 


Almighty God, who sent the Holy Spirit to Mary, proclaimed joy through the angels, sent the shepherds with good news, and led the magi by a star, bless you this day through the Word made flesh.


Christ is born!  Share the good news!   Thanks be to God.

Worship Assistants

Music:  Lori, Mya, Jazzy, Barb, Paul, Maddy Jo, Dylan, Pat, Dani, Darcy, Inara and Ian.
Message: Pastor Kristin
Readers: Peyton, Conor, Ally, Izzy, Jazzy, AJ, Keetin, Evan, Aimee, Joy, Satya, Amy, Dan, Ginny
Children’s Moment: Pastor Kristin

From Sundays and Seasons.com. Copyright 2005 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.  Reprinted and streamed by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SAS002432.  New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.  Hymns reprinted and streamed with permission. CCLI#1162147. 

Advent Candle Lighting adapted from The Salt Project (saltprogect.org) and Discipleship Matters (umcdiscipleship.org).