Prelude:  O Holy Night    Daphne Clarke and Shawn Lemp

Ringing of the Chimes


Hymn:  O Come, All Ye Faithful            #283, 1.2

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 God of God, Light of Light
Lo, He abhors not the Virgin’s womb
Very God
Begotten, not created
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
Christ the Lord!

Prayer of the Day:

Loving Father, help us remember the birth of Jesus,

that we may share in the song of angels,

the gladness of the shepherds,

and the worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world.

Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.

We pray in Jesus’ name who lives with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Let us go to Bethlehem

Reader:  Noah Kunej  

The first ones to hear about Christmas were the shepherds: the angel came to them and said:

“Do not be afraid; for 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 Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”

And their reaction was:

“Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us.”  The shepherds listened to the angel and went with haste to Bethlehem where they found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.

Reader:  Erica Kunej

As the shepherds entered, saw the tiny baby, and knelt at the manger – they were at the end of a long chain of people who had been watching and waiting for exactly this to happen.  For many, many years there were people watching and waiting for God to fulfill his promises and send his Messiah.  Sometimes these people were ready to give up, they felt that God was very far away but deep down in their hearts there was still hope that God would enter their lives and come close – close enough to see and touch. 

Reader:  Markus Kunej

Tonight, we will hear once again the good news of how God did fulfil his promises not only for the shepherds but for us – God comes into our lives, close enough to see and touch.

Hymn:  O Little Town of Bethlehem    #279, 1.4

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.

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!

The Angel Gabriel and Mary

Reader:  Jane Weeden

God spoke to people through dreams and prophets and angels.  To announce the coming birth of his son Jesus he sent his messenger –the angel Gabriel to tell her of God’s plan for her life and the world.

The Gospel of Luke 1:26-35.38

Reader:  Sandy Kunej  

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.”  But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.  And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He 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.  He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”  Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The 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.  Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Joseph obeys God

Reader:  Wilhelm Hilgendag

Joseph and Mary were engaged but not married. So, no wonder Joseph was startled when he had heard that Mary was pregnant. Distressed and disappointed, but nevertheless a righteous and gentle man, Joseph planned to quietly break the engagement and send Mary away. But God had other plans.

The Gospel of Matthew 1:20.21.24

Reader:  Petra Hilgendag

But 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. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

Hymn: From Heaven Above         #268 vs. 1 – 3

1 “From heaven above to earth I come
To bear good news to every home;
Glad tidings of great joy I bring,
Whereof I now will say and sing:1

2 “To you this night is born a child
Of Mary, chosen virgin mild;2
This little child, of lowly birth,2a
Shall be the joy of all the earth.

3 “This is the Christ, our God and Lord,
Who in all need shall aid afford;
He will Himself your Savior be
From all your sins to set you free

Caesar Augustus and the census

Reader:  Gertrude Shearim

Far away, in the city of Rome, the emperor Caesar Augustus called for a census of the whole Roman world. For him it was a political and economic decision: he wanted to know how subjects he had and how much tax money he could get. But without being aware of it, he played a part in God’s plan to bring his son into the world.

As all the people, Joseph also went to his hometown. He took Mary with him to be registered and counted in Bethlehem of Judea, the home of his ancestor David.   While they were there, the time came for Jesus to be born

The Gospel of Luke 2:1-7

Reader:  Virginia Byron 

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.

I Wonder as I Wander      Daphne Clarke and Shawn Lemp

Angels and Shepherds

Reader:  Theresa Davis

At the same time outside of Bethlehem, the shepherds fulfilled their daily duties; they were poor fellows, without much of a life, outsiders and not well liked.

But to them the angel and a great multitude of the heavenly hosts came, praising God and saying, ” Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace, good will among those whom he favours!”  Imagine the excited conversation after the heavenly host departed. They all wanted to see for themselves and said: “Let us go to Bethlehem to see what has happened.”

The Gospel of Luke 2:8-12

Reader:  Naanyuni Davis 

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. 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 Saviour, 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.”

Hymn:  Hark! The Herald Angels Sing    #270, 1-2

1 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 the angelic host proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem.
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King.

2 Christ, by highest heaven adored,
Christ, the Everlasting Lord,
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of the Virgin’s womb:
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail the Incarnate Deity,
Pleased as Man with us to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King.

The good news of Bethlehem

Reader:  Gigi Todd

The good news of great joy for all people – Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, you and me – was heard in Bethlehem.  Along with the shepherds, we can discover Christmas in the birth at Bethlehem. I wish for all of us, that this good news may be just as great a joy as it was for the shepherds and that we may share this joy with each other as they did. They kept telling each other what had been told to them about this child.

Down in a lowly manger

The humble Christ was born

God sent us salvation

That blessed Christmas morn

That Jesus Christ was born.

The Gospel of Luke 2:16-20

Reader:  Glen Willmot 

So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying, and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Hymn: Hark! The Herald Angels sing   #270. 1

1 Hark! the herald angels sing:
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful, all ye 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!”

Sermon:  Pastor Daniela Mertz

Hymn:  On Christmas Night    #274, 1.4

1 On Christmas night all Christians sing
to hear the news the angels bring,
on Christmas night all Christians sing
to hear the news the angels bring,
news of great joy, news of great mirth,
news of our merciful King’s birth.

4 All out of darkness we have light,
which made the angels sing this night,
all out of darkness we have light,
which made the angels sing this night:
“Glory to God and peace to men,
now and forevermore. Amen.”

Prayers:  Jane Redin

On this holy night, let us offer our prayers for the church, the world, and all those in need.

Give your wisdom to all who govern, that all over the earth people may live in justice, peace, and dignity.

God in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Grant reconciliation to those surrounded by conflict and violence, that they don’t lose hope and finally will see a change for the better. Let us pray for the many people who have lost a loved one due to war and terrorism, for those who miss a loved one at their celebration. Give them your comfort and the strength to live and to love.

God in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Let us pray for all who are cold, hungry, or alone this night. Embrace with your tender care all who wander alone or have no place to lay their head. Let them find help and empathy that they may experience the hope of this holy night.

God in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Let us pray for all who are anxious, depressed, or ill. Draw near to those who find this season a source of pain or grief, and to all who are suffering or sick, especially Margarete and Harry, Gladys, Bill, John, Grace, Marlene and Ruby, Art, Dave, and Eberhard… and all those we remember in our own hearts …      that they may feel the comfort of this holy night.

God in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Let us pray for parents, families, and newborn infants who celebrate with joy and happy hearts. Strengthen families in the bonds of love and commitment that they may delight in the joy of this holy night.

God in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Let us pray for ourselves and for the blessings of Christmas. Open our hearts to your presence, that we may continue to grow in love and trust in you.
God in your mercy: hear our prayer.

All these things and whatever else you see that we need, grant us, O God, for the sake of him who came to us as a little child. Amen   

Offering Hymn:  In the Bleak Midwinter   #294 vs. 3

What can I give Him, Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: Give my heart.

The Great Thanksgiving    p. 152

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 him thanks and praise.

Holy are you, and blessed is your Son Jesus Christ.
As Mary and Joseph went from Galilee to Bethlehem
and there found no room,
so Jesus went from Galilee to Jerusalem and was despised and rejected.
As in the poverty of a stable Jesus was born,
so by the baptism of his suffering, death, and resurrection
you gave birth to your Church,
delivered us from slavery to sin and death,
and made with us a new covenant by water and the Spirit.

Eucharistic Prayer               

In the night of his arrest, our Lord Jesus took

bread, and after giving thanks to God, he broke

it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take,

eat. This is my body, given for you. Do this in

remembrance of me.”

In the same way he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all

to drink, saying, “This cup is the new covenant sealed in my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this in remembrance of me.” Amen

Lord’s Prayer                                                                                 p. 154

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name,

thy kingdom come,

thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;

and forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,

forever and ever. Amen.


The body and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christen strengthen you and keep you in his grace, now and forever. + Amen

Post Communion Prayer

God of shepherds and kings,

you gather us by the light of the star of promise.

You lead us not only to hope for the future, but to trust in your presence and renewal of life in every time and place.

Guide us this night and send us out by the power of your Spirit,
to live and work for your praise. Amen.


Hymn: Silent Night, Holy Night   #281, 1.3 

1 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.

3 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.


Go in peace! Share the Good News! God is with us!

Thanks be to God!