Sunday, December 24 - The Nativity of the Lord - Christmas Eve

December 24, 2015
NATIVITY OF OUR LORD, CHRISTMAS EVE
THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
 
We rejoice in the marvel of “God with us”.

 As in our own families, the pregnant waiting is accomplished.

 The Child is born. Our lives are forever changed.

As with our own families, ‘God with us’ is not just a gift, it is also a privileged responsibility: to bear, care for, and carry the Child.

 Blessed ‘God-with-us’ and a very merry Christmas.

For further reflection

How do we rejoice in God’s Presence?

How will we bear, care for and carry God in our lives?
We offer two services Christmas Eve (Thursday, December 24)
both involve carols, special music, and candle-lighting.
            5:00 pm – “A Service for the Child” 
 Especially for families with young children (40-45 minutes). 
The children’s sermon: “Born”.  No big sermon.  No communion.
 
            9:00 pm – Holy Communion
                        Full sung service
                        Big Sermon:  “Is Peace Good News?”
 
 PRAYER OF THE DAY

Almighty 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.

EARLY SERVICE LESSONS AND PSALM
            Isaiah 9:2–7
            Psalm 96
            1 John 3: 1-2
            Luke 2:1–14 [15–20]
            John 1:1-14
 
CHILDREN’S SERMON (5:00 p.m. Service)  “Born”
SERMON  (9:00 p.m. Service)  “Is Peace Good News?”

 

WORD OF THE WEEK
From Luke 2

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.

From John 1
14And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth.
 
FIRST LESSON from Isaiah 9:2–7
The 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.
 
SECOND LESSON according to 1 John 3: 1-2

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Beloved, we are God's children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.

THE HOLY GOSPEL according to Luke 2:1–14 [15–20]

In 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.]

                                                                                                                       

LATE SERVICE LESSONS AND PSALMS:

Isaiah 52: 7-10
Hebrews: 1: 1-4
Luke 2: 1-20
Psalms: 98
 
FIRST LESSON FROM: Isaiah 52: 7-10

7How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” 8Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices, together they sing for joy; for in plain sight they see the return of the Lord to Zion. 9Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. 10The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

SECOND LESSON FROM Hebrews 1: 1-14

1 Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. 3He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. 5For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”? 6And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” 7Of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, and his servants flames of fire.” 8But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom. 9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” 10And, “In the beginning, Lord, you founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands; 11they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like clothing; 12like a cloak you will roll them up, and like clothing they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will never end.” 13But to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? 14Are not all angels spirits in the divine service, sent to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

THE HOLY Gospel according to JOHN 1: 1-14

In 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.

10He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

14And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth.