Christmas Eve December 24 2020

Welcome to Worship. Thank you for coming.
Join in Zoom worship on Christmas Eve, December 24th at 4:30 pm by Zoom ( or watch here anytime. We hope that you experience within this time a deep breath of peace, unexpected joy, and God’s love, hidden in each moment and revealed in Jesus.

Prelude – Night in the City of Saint Paul Montage by Erik Wohlrabe with the Jazz Ensemble

Hymn – O Come All Ye Faithful Worship 283 (vs 1-3) Paul Swenson
1    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!

2    The highest, most holy,
light of light eternal,
born of a virgin, a mortal he comes;
Son of the Father
now in flesh appearing!  Refrain

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

Text: attr. John Francis Wade, 1711-1786; tr. Frederick Oakeley, 1802-1880, sts. 1, 3; tr. unknown, st. 2            

Welcome – In Deepest Night, Welcome Christ
In winter’s deepest night, we welcome the light of the Christ child. Isaiah declares that the light will illumine the world and bring peace and justice. The angels sing that Jesus’ birth is good and joyful news for everyone, including those who feel like outsiders. God’s word, God’s presence came to live among us, to be with us and to live out our real-life experiences. God comes to fill our homes and hearts with love this Christmas night.

Opening Song  Angels from the Realms of Glory Worship 275 Jazz Ensemble
1   Angels, from the realms of glory,
wing your flight o’er all the earth;
once you sang creation’s story,
now proclaim Messiah’s birth:
Come and worship, come and worship,
worship Christ, the newborn king.

2   Shepherds, in the fields abiding,
watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with us is now residing,
yonder shines the infant light.
Come and worship, come and worship,
worship Christ, the newborn king.

3   Sages, leave your contemplations,
brighter visions beam afar;
seek the great desire of nations,
you have seen his natal star.
Come and worship, come and worship,
worship Christ, the newborn king.

4   All creation, join in praising
God, the Father, Spirit, Son,
evermore your voices raising
 to the eternal Three in One.
Come and worship, come and worship,
worship Christ, the newborn king.

Text: James Montgomery, 1771-1854, alt., sts. 1-3; Salisbury Hymn Book, 1857, st. 4

Greeting & Christmas Candle Lighting Vicar Anne Wickland
Alleluia. 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. Alleluia!   Lights Advent candles & Christ candle.

Song – Christmas Joy Vogt family

Prayer of the Day Erik Wohlrabe 
All-powerful and unseen God, the coming of your light into our world has brightened weary hearts with peace. Call us this night and empower us to proclaim the birth of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. 

Song A Miracle Came                               Dan Koopmans 

First Reading  (Isaiah 9:2, 6-7) Vicar Anne Wickland
A reading from Isaiah:
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. For 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. His 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.
Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.

Song Angels we have heard on high    Worship 289 (vs 1-2)    Paul Swenson
1   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.

2   Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
which inspire your heav’nly song?  Refrain 

Gospel Reading, part one Erik Wohlrabe
A reading from Luke, Chapter 2   (Luke 2:1-9)
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph 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. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And 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. In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 

Song Angels we have heard on high    Worship 289 (vs 3)   Natalia Peterson
3   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.

Text: French carol; tr. H. F. Hemy, The Crown of Jesus Music, 1864

Gospel Reading, part two                         Readers
The gospel according to Luke. Glory to you, O Lord.               (Luke 2:10-14)
But the angel said to them, “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. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and 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 heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
Reader   The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ. 

Message for Children & All                                                          Pastor Joy

Song It Came upon a Midnight Clear Paul Swenson
1 It came upon the midnight clear,
that glorious song of old,
from angels bending near the earth
to touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, good will to all,
from heav’n’s all-gracious king.”
The world in solemn stillness lay
to hear the angels sing.

2 Still through the cloven skies they come
with peaceful wings unfurled,
and still their heav’nly music floats
o’er all the weary world.
Above its sad and lowly plains
they bend on hov’ring wing,
and ever o’er its babel sounds
the blessed angels sing.

3 And you, beneath life’s crushing load,
whose forms are bending low,
who toil along the climbing way
with painful steps and slow:
look now, for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing;
oh, rest beside the weary road
and hear the angels sing!

4 For lo! The days are hast’ning on,
by prophets seen of old,
when with the ever-circling years
shall come the time foretold,
when peace shall over all the earth
its ancient splendors fling,
and all the world give back the song
which now the angels sing.

Text: Edmund H. Sears, 1810-1876

Prayers of the People Erik Wohlrabe, Vicar Anne Wickland
Joining our voices with the song of the angels, let us pray for the church, the world, and all who are in need.
A brief silence.

The shepherds sing, “Jesus Christ is born!” Let your church throughout the world proclaim this good news, over the hills and everywhere. Unite the voices of all your faithful people in songs of praise and rejoicing. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

Heaven and nature sing, “Joy to the world!” Give respite to flocks, fields, and those who tend them. Come near to us in the beauty of nighttime, the shining of the stars, and the hush of a world at rest. May our wonder at your creation rouse our care for all the earth. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

The angels sing, “Peace on earth!” Come quickly to still the strife of this world. Hush the noise of war and violence in places of unrest. Inspire leaders of nations to seek lasting peace and sustainable provision for all in their care. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

Mary sings melodies of comfort to her newborn child. Bring rest and reassurance to those facing struggles this night. Shelter travelers and those without homes. Console those who lie awake due to pain or anxiety. Heal those who are sick or hurting. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

Love sings through the sound of a new baby’s cry. Bless new parents and expectant parents. Comfort those who long for children, especially those running out of hope or options. Surround families of every shape and size with your love and care. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

The heavenly chorus sings, “Glory to God in the highest!” We give you thanks for all the saints who have proclaimed your glory in word and deed (especially). Let us join them this night in joyful praise around your eternal throne (especially). Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

God of mercy, come quickly to us with grace upon grace as we lift these and all our prayers to you, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Sharing the Peace
Johm riab sua.
The Peace of Christ be with you always.  And also with you.

Offering Thank you for your year-end gifts to the mission of Christ!

I am so glad each Christmas Eve Paul Swenson
Jeg er så glad hver julekveld

1 I am so glad each Christmas Eve,
the night of Jesus’ birth!
Then like the sun the star shone forth,
and angels sang on earth.

2 The little child in Bethlehem,
he was a king indeed!
For he came down from heav’n above
to help a world in need.

3 He dwells again in heaven’s realm,
the Son of God today;
and still he loves his little ones
and hears them when they pray.

4 I am so glad each Christmas Eve!
His praises then I sing;
he opens now for ev’ry child
the palace of the king.

5 And so I love each Christmas Eve,
and I love Jesus too;
and that he loves me ev’ry day
I know so well is true.

Text: Marie Wexelsen, 1832-1911; tr. Peter A. Sveeggen, 1881-1959
Text © 1932 Augsburg Publishing House, admin. Augsburg Fortress.

Offering Prayer Erik Wohlrabe
Gracious God, you came to us as one unknown, bringing joy and salvation to the earth. Nourish us at your banquet table, that with all who welcome your birth we may proclaim your peace, revealed in Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen. 

Away in a Manger (Zielske siblings/family) Worship 286  

Great Thanksgiving Pastor
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is indeed right, our act of love and our joy, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, almighty and merciful God, through our Savior Jesus Christ. In the wonder and mystery of the Word made flesh you have opened the eyes of faith to a new and radiant vision of your glory.  Draw us now to love you whom we cannot as yet see. With all the choirs of angels, with the church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!  Let earth receive her king; 
Let every heart prepare Christ room and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven and nature sing, and heaven, and heaven and nature sing. 

Holy One, the beginning and the end, the giver of life: blessed are you for the birth of creation. Blessed are you in the darkness and in the light. Blessed are you for your promise to your people. Blessed are you in the prophets’ hopes and dream. Blessed are you for Mary and Joseph’s openness to your will. Blessed are you for your Son Jesus, the Word made flesh.

Remember, beloved ones… how in the night in which he was betrayed our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks; broke it and gave it to his disciples saying: Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.

Again, after supper, Jesus took the cup, gave thanks and gave it for all to drink, saying: This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this for the remembrance of me.

With bread and cup, we remember your Word dwelling among us, full of grace and truth.  Holy God, we long for your Spirit. Come among us. Bless this meal. May your Word take flesh in us. Awaken your people, fill us with your light. Bring the gift of peace on earth.

All praise and glory are yours, Holy One, Word of God Incarnate, one God, now and forever.

Jesus, remember us and teach us how to pray:
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.

Invitation to Communion Pastor
The Word is revealed in a manger, in simple bread and wine. Receive Christ in your hands, hearts and homes this night. Now, if you are gathered with others, when the music begins, please share with one another first the bread and then the cup with the words, 

The body of Christ, given for you.
The blood of Christ, poured out for you.

If you are by yourself, I offer this invitation…
Receive the body of Christ, given for you.
Receive the blood of Christ, poured out for you.

And if for any reason you will not receive Communion bread & cup today, a blessing for you…
May God fill you up with the Holy Spirit and give you all that you need.

Communion Songs Lullaby on Christmas Eve   Lara & Nathan Hanson

O Little Town of Bethlehem Paul Swenson
1 O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by;
yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light.
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

2 For Christ is born of Mary, and, gathered all above
while mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wond’ring love.
O morning stars, together proclaim the holy birth,
and praises sing to God the king, and peace to all the earth!

3 How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heav’n.
No ear may hear his coming; but, in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in.

4 O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
oh, come to us, abide with us, our Lord Immanuel!

Text: Phillips Brooks, 1835-1893

O Holy Night Alissa Lawson

Prayer After Communion Vicar Anne
Emmanuel, God with us, you grace us with life and breath and give us bread for the journey. Move us to service to this world that you love, telling the amazing news of your coming to be Savior and Lord of all. Amen.

Candle Lighting Lighting of the candles  as  John 1 is read by Pastor Joy
[Light a candle if you have one – the light is shared and never diminishes.]

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. Heavenly 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.

Copyright in the public domain. Text: Joseph Mohr, 1792-1849; tr. John F. Young, 1820-1885

Blessing Pastor
Grace from God’s own heart, peace from the + Child in the manger, and strength from the Spirit of life be blessings for you today and forever. Amen.
The candles are extinguished.

Sending Song – Joy to the World
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her king; 
Let every heart prepare Christ room
and heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven, and heaven 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.

Go with Christ!                     Leaders
Go with Christ who fills you with grace and truth! Thanks be to God!

Postlude – O Christmas Tree Medley         Mark Cavanaugh           

May you all have a joyful Christmas
and a blessed New Year!


Poinsettias & Decorating— Thank you to those who have volunteered to make our worship space so beautiful for Christmastime.

Christmas Day Worship—tomorrow at 10:30 am
On Christmas morning the people of God gather to celebrate the birth of the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, Bishop Patricia Lull and the Saint Paul Area Synod staff leading worship.

Godly Play – see you on the Second Day of Christmas! (Dec 26th by Zoom)

Christ’s Annual Congregational Meeting will be by Zoom on Sunday, January 24 after 9:30 am Worship. 

Thank you to all who made 2021 Share Life commitments

THANK YOU so much to every single person who has given gifts of any size to Christ this past year, and to all of those who turned in commitment cards for 2021 giving as a part of our Share Life stewardship appeal. Together we will continue to Share Life in more and more ways into the future.

Year-End Gifts
In a season when we receive many good requests from many worthy causes, and in a year when offerings already have been generous, we want to remind you how important your offering to the ministry of Christ (the General Fund) is for our health as a congregation. We invite you to give generously at this year-end so that we might enter 2021 free of deficit!

Welcome Table Capital Campaign
Thank you to all those who have committed gifts to the Welcome Table Capital Campaign. After the first two years, we have received $258,676 of our $300,000 goal. Make a commitment to give over the final year of the campaign and give a special gift today to help us reach 100%.