The Festival of Jesus’ Birth in Nine Lessons
Christmas Eve 2015
Thank you for joining us this evening to celebrate the Reason for Christmas. As this is a worship service, please refrain from taking pictures. Take a moment to silence or turn off your cell phone so your worship is not interrupted. At the end of the service all children are invited to take home a treat bag.
Processional: “Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful”
Pastor: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
P: This evening we celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. We rejoice in the hope of our Savior, Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem to die and rise again for our sins. This message is much like that tiny baby in the manger, it is simple and easy to understand and it touches each of our hearts.
C: Lord, open our hearts to listen to Your word and our lips to sing Your praise!
P: Well did David prophecy about the birth and life of this coming Savior, when he wrote, “What is man that You are mindful of him?”
C: “And the son of man, that You visit Him?”
P: “For You have made him a little lower than the angels,”
C: “And You have crowned him with glory and honor.”
P: Well did Jeremiah prophecy about the power of this coming Savior, when He wrote, “’Behold the days are coming’ says the LORD,”
C: “’That I will raise to David a Branch of Righteousness.’”
P: “’A King shall reign and execute judgment’”
C: “’And righteousness in the earth.’”
P: “’In His days Judah will be saved.’”
C: “’And Israel will dwell safely.’”
P: “’Now this is the name by which He will be called:’”
C: “’The LORD our righteousness.’”
P: Well did Zechariah prophecy about the suffering of this coming Savior, when He wrote, “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication.”
C: “They will look on Me whom they pierced.”
P: “Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son,”
C: “And grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.”
P: “Strike the Shepherd,”
C: “And the sheep will be scattered.”
P: Well did Job prophecy about the victorious resurrection of this Coming Savior, when he wrote, “For I know that my Redeemer lives,”
C: “And He shall stand at last on the earth.”
P: “And after my skin is destroyed, this I know:”
C: “That in my flesh I shall see God. Whom I shall see for myself. How my heart rejoices within me!”
P: God gave and fulfilled many more promises about this coming Savior throughout His Word. This evening, let us listen and learn as the children speak and sing of these wonderful truths and how they tell us of the true meaning of Christmas.
Children’s Hymn, “Away in a Manger”
1. Away in a manger, no crib for a 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.
2. The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes,
I love Thee, Lord Jesus! Look down from the sky,
And stay by my side until morning is nigh.
3. Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,
And take us to heaven to live with Thee there.
Pre-school children: Christmas Prayer
In a manger Jesus lies; Angels praise Him in the skies.
Shepherds kneel before him low, To the stable let us go!
Light of heaven and Morning Star, Little Jesus, thine we are.
Lead us as thy very own, To the Father’s shining throne.
Congregational Hymn, “On Christmas Night”
God announces in the Garden of Eden that the
Seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head.
And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”
Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
And the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
So the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
God promises to faithful Abraham that in his
Seed shall the nations of the earth be blessed.
Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son – blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."
Christ’s birth and kingdom are foretold by Isaiah.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. His delight is in the fear of the LORD, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; but with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.
The prophet Micah foretells the glory of little Bethlehem.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” Therefore He shall give them up, until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; then the remnant of His brethren shall return to the children of Israel. And He shall stand and feed His flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD His God; and they shall abide, for now He shall be great to the ends of the earth.”
Children’s Hymn, “O Little Town of Bethlehem” (Congregation join on stanza 4)
The angel Gabriel salutes the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”
Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Congregational Hymn 94 “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
St. Luke tells of the birth of Jesus.
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Congregational Hymn, “Silent Night”
The angel announces the birth of the Savior,
And the shepherds go to the manger.
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
Children’s Hymn, “Angels We Have Heard on High”
The wise men are led by the star to Jesus.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”
Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Congregational Hymn 98 “Of the Father’s Love Begotten”
St. John unfolds the great truth of the birth of our Savior!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Children’s Hymn, “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen” (Congregation join on stanza 5)
(Children) 1. God rest you merry, gentlemen, Let nothing you dismay,
Remember Christ our Savior Was born on earth this day,
To save us all from Satan’s pow’r When we were gone astray;
Oh tidings of comfort and joy!
(Children) 2. From God our Heav’nly Father A blessed angel came;
And unto certain shepherds Brought tidings of the same:
How that in Bethlehem was born The Son of God by Name.
Oh tidings of comfort and joy!
(Children) 3. The shepherds at those tidings Rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding, In tempest, storm, and wind:
And went to Bethlehem straightway, The Son of God to find.
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy!
(Children) 4. And when they came to Bethlehem Where our dear Savior lay,
They found Him in a manger, Where oxen feed on hay,
His mother Mary kneeling down, Unto the Lord did pray.
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy!
(All) 5. Now to the Lord sing praises, All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas All other doth deface:
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy!
Recessional: “Joy to the World” (Congregation and Children)