Christmas Lessons & Carols

The pianist Kaleb Brasee is a stellar resource for Christmas songs to sing along to.  If you would like to see the lyrics, choose “open transcript” from the menu that comes up after the three dots at the bottom of the video.  Many blessings on your Christmas celebrations!

GATHERING PRAYER

Our Lord Emmanuel, 
we thank you for coming down to us on Christmas.
Shine your light into our darkness,
and open our hearts to your way of love and peace.  Amen.

GATHERING SONG

FIRST READING

The Birth of Jesus Foretold (Luke 1:26-38 NRSV)
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 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. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 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. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 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.

CAROL

SECOND READING

The Birth of Jesus the Messiah (Matthew 1:18-25 NRSV)
18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20 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. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means, “God is with us.” 24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25 but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

CAROL

THIRD READING

The Birth of Jesus (Luke 2:1-7 NRSV)
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.

CAROL

FOURTH READING

The Shepherds and the Angels (Luke 2:8-20 NRSV)
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. 10 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: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And 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!”
15 When 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.” 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

CAROL

FIFTH READING

The Visit of the Wise Men (Matthew 2:1-12)
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
    who is to shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11 On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

CAROL

SIXTH READING

The Word Became Flesh (John 1:1-5,9-14 NRSV)
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 came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
14 And 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.

CAROL

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

On this holy night, let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people throughout the world, and for all those in need of prayer.

O God of Courage, we pray for those who, like Mary, need some courage today.
Strengthen them in their courage, and give us a measure of your own.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

O God of Encouragement, we pray for those who, like Elizabeth, encourage others.
Open their hearts and minds to those who need your help and care, and encourage us in the path where you lead. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

O God of Mercy, we pray for those who, like Joseph, are merciful.
Help them to know how to do what is right, and help us to extend that mercy towards those who need it.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

O Light of Light, we pray for the church.
For unity in division, for strength in adversity, for hope in despair.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

O Root of Jesse, we pray for the earth.
For rest for the land, for clean water, air, and soil, for good stewardship of all you have given us.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

O Prince of Peace, we pray for the world.
For peace among nations, for peace among peoples, for peace in our homes and communities.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

O Key of David, we pray for those who cannot be here with us today.  For compassion for our neighbors in need.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

O Source of Wisdom, we pray for those in need of prayer.
For health, hope, healing, and wholeness.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

O Mighty Lord, stir up your power and come among us.
For those things on our hearts and minds which are known only to you.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God with us, we thank you for this time to worship you.
As we go from here, help us to be your light
in all the dark places of our homes, our communities, and our world. 
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Lord, remember us in your kingdom, and teach us to pray…

THE LORD’S PRAYER

CAROL

OFFERING:  MISSION OF THE MONTH

Blue Valley Home Foundation
Becoming a partner with Blue Valley Lutheran Homes allows us to continue to provide the highest quality nursing care to our residents, who are elderly, disabled or suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Your gift greatly impacts the lives of the residents we serve!  Blue Valley is a serving arm of the Nebraska Synod ELCA.  Learn more about Blue Valley Home Foundation here:  http://bvlh.org/foundation-for-blue-valley-lutheran-homes-nebraska-nursing-care-homes/

OFFERING PRAYER

As we celebrate the coming of your Son, O God, we thank you for the blessing of your generosity and forgiveness. We give you thanks for our many blessings, signs of your gracious love. Strengthen us to be generous and forgiving, that we may share our gifts with the hungry and all who look for your justice and mercy. Grant this through Christ our Lord, Amen.

adapted from http://www.lifelongfaith.com/uploads/5/1/6/4/5164069/table_prayers_for_advent_1.pdf

SENDING SONG

BLESSING

Go in peace.  Your Light has come.
Thanks be to God.

POSTLUDE

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