December 19, 2021   The Fourth Sunday in Advent

The Miracles of Christmas


Three Christmas Miracles


              That Mary, a virgin, gave birth to a child is one of the most incredible miracles in all of Scripture.  The

 Miracle of Virgin Birth is also one of the Bible’s most-challenged (and rejected) doctrines by those who question the divine inspiration and total reliability/truthfulness of God’s Word.  It is also a miracle that you and I accept this teaching of the Virgin Birth of Jesus by faith, on the basis of Biblical authority.  For the Virgin Birth is illogical;   it’s certainly something that we cannot intellectually comprehend.  And so we thank God for the miracle of faith that the Holy Spirit has worked in us.  There’s another (third) miracle that we’ll also consider today – not “just” that Jesus was born to a virgin, or that we believe it, but the miracle that God became “incarnate”….in other words, that He became fully human in the person of Jesus Christ..and that He did this, in love, in order to save us from our sins and to earn for us a place in heaven.   It’s absolutely amazing!


Opposition Across the Centuries


            Unfortunately, across the centuries – beginning with Jewish attacks against any and everything  Christian

 during the first century, and right down to the “post-modernist,” liberal scholars of today who seem to reject almost everything Biblical – the doctrines of the Virgin Birth and the Incarnation of Christ have been attacked from many directions and by numerous enemies.   But we, on the other hand, have remained – by God’s grace alone, steadfast in our confidence in the Scriptures and all that they teach, not because everything is reasonable but through Spirit-given faith founded solely on the Holy Scriptures.

            Those who have persistently and faithfully held to these teachings (such as our own Wisconsin Synod) have

 been criticized repeatedly by those on the “denying side.”   They maintain that we are ignorant, and that we don’t know what we are talking about.  “How,” they ask, “can a child be born without a human father?   And how – even why – would God become human too?   It’s all too impossible to believe”….so they say.  On the basis of “reason” they refuse to accept the truth about these miracles, all the while instead challenging our intelligence because we believe they happened.    However, accepting the fact that the miracles of Jesus’ Incarnation and His Virgin Birth are real and true is not simply a matter of human “intelligence.”  Instead, it’s an act of faith!    Faith has no trouble with the “fact” that miracles are impossible for human beings to do, let alone to repeat or explain.   And, without a doubt, the Virgin Birth and Incarnation are miracles….. miracles performed by the almighty God Who can do the “impossible,” ……miracles which we embrace – comfortably, unquestioningly, gladly, and gratefully – by Spirit-given faith.

             This morning as a part of our Advent (pre-Christmas) preparations and worship, we’ll focus our attention on

 these three miracles:  The Incarnation of God, the Virgin Birth and our Conversion to Faith.   We   accept the first two, not on the basis of “human reason” but because God the Holy Spirit has miraculously worked faith in our hearts through the powerful, inspired words of God.   It’s been said that “Words do mean things,” and the words of God that we’ll consider this morning – both the Biblical context in which they’re found, and the very words of the original Biblical languages of Hebrew and Greek – do mean something vital for us.   They point to ONLY one understanding (and it is essential for our salvation)….that Jesus was miraculously born, the Son of God as well as the Son of Mary, in order to be the Savior from sin for our entire fallen human race……me and you included!


We Believe This…Because our Salvation Depends on it

            Each of us regularly affirms the truths of Christ’s incarnation and His Virgin Birth in both the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, as we’ll do again later this morning.   As Christians we believe, teach, and confess that our Savior Jesus Christ is  the God-Man (Colossians 2:9), Who took upon Himself our human flesh and nature through the miracle of being conceived by the Holy Spirit and being born to the Virgin Mary.   It was essential to our salvation that the world’s Savior had to be fully “human” in order to sinlessly (Hebrews 4:15) live under the law (Galatians 4:4,5;  Romans 5:19) and to die sacrificially (Hebrews 2:14) for all our sin as our Substitute (Mark 10:45) in life and in death.   Yet He also had to be totally God, so that His sacrificial, substitutionary  death (Hebrews 7:26,27) would be sufficient (Psalm 49:7,8) enough to pay for the sins of all mankind (John 1:29; I John 2:2).    God’s Incarnation – becoming the God-Man in the person of Jesus – was made possible through the miracle of the Virgin Birth.    In the “Incarnation,” the Second Person of the Trinity thoroughly embraced human flesh (although He did so sinlessly) so that He could become the Messiah and Savior of all sinful humanity.  This you and I believe on the basis of Scripture alone….because the Bible, as God’s very Word, is entirely true, having been given to us by God Himself Who loves us so much that He doesn’t want us to remain lost in our spiritual ignorance and in a state of impending spiritual/eternal death.   And so, in His Word He teaches us about His mercy through, among other things, the dual truths of Christ’s Incarnation and His virgin birth, on which our salvation depends.           


The Focus of our Worship Today 

            The truth of Christ’s Incarnation through the Virgin Birth is well-expressed in all of today’s Scripture Lessons.   Our Old Testament Lesson was penned under inspiration well over 700 years before Jesus’ first coming.  Wicked king Ahaz was ruling the increasingly idolatrous nation of Judah at a time when the Jewish people were gravely threatened by their  enemies.  In spite of his unbelief, God mercifully wanted to assure Ahaz and Judah that He would enable them to be victorious.  He told the king – through the prophet Isaiah – to ask for a “sign” (any sign!)  from the Lord as a proof of the Lord’s faithfulness to deliver them.  In a false display of piety Ahaz refused to ask (actually, he had already sought deliverance through a foolish alliance with the Assyrians.)   And so, as a rebuke to Ahaz, the Lord declared that He would provide a sign for of deliverance not only for Judah but for all mankind.  It was not one Ahaz (or Isaiah) would live to see, but one that would be fulfilled centuries later through the miraculous virgin birth of the Messiah, also known as “Immanuel” (God with us).  The Hebrew word for “virgin” here is Almah, which is always used in the OT to refer to a young woman who is not only of marriageable age, but who also has not had sexual relations with anyone.  

            In the Greek Old Testament (called the Septuagint) as well as in the Greek New Testament (specifically our Gospel Lesson, Sermon Text, and Children’s Lesson) the word used to describe Mary is “parthenos” – and it is also always translated “virgin.” 

             In our Children’s Lesson the Angel Gabriel explains to Mary how it is possible for this miracle to take place in her.   He says the “power of the most High” God would overshadow her, and that the Lord would work the humanly impossible in her (since all things are possible for God). 

            Gabriel explained this to Jesus’ earthly step-father, Joseph, in our Gospel Lesson/Sermon Text.   Joseph was ready to divorce Mary (in those days engagement was viewed as “marriage” – even though the engaged couple stayed celibate until they began to live together months after the betrothal ceremony) because he naturally assumed she had behaved adulterously in becoming pregnant.   Gabriel sets him straight by saying that she was still a virgin and that the Child in her was conceived through the miraculous intervention of God the Holy Spirit.   This would take place to fulfill the Messianic prophesy given through Isaiah (7:14) seven centuries earlier……”The Virgin would be with Child” and give birth to the “Immanuel, God with Us.”   

            In our Epistle Lesson Paul affirms the “two natures” of Christ (His truly human and divine natures) – which was the product of the incarnation through the Virgin Birth.  

         Finally, an added feature on today’s and all our Sunday morning Advent services, is our “liturgical use” of one of our Lutheran Church’s traditional Advent hymns “Lift Up Your Heads You Mighty Gates” in place of the customary hymn “Gloria in Excelsis” (“Glory be to God on High”).  It is based on the Messianic Psalm 24, which, 1000 years earlier,  described part of the coming Messiah’s redemptive work.




    Situated in the front of the church, to the right of the lectern, you’ll find an “Advent Wreath.”  It’s been our practice at Grace Lutheran to use an Advent Wreath during the Advent and Christmas seasons as a symbolic means for both preparing ourselves for the coming of the Christ child and then joyously reflecting upon the arrival of that Savior.    The following brief history and explanation of the Advent Wreath’s symbolism is intended to help you enjoy and benefit from this traditional Christian expression.


The Advent Wreath


            The Advent wreath is a combination of two very common symbols:  light and the fir tree.   From the early centuries of Christianity it has been the practice to represent Christ by a burning candle.  The fir tree also has a long history of religious use.   One of the most popular themes for the medieval “mystery plays” revolved around the telling of the story of Paradise.  In those plays, the Garden of Eden was typically portrayed by a fir tree hung with apples.   In the Eastern churches (Eastern/Greek Orthodox) December 24th was celebrated as the Feast Day of Adam and Eve.    The custom of putting up a Paradise tree in the home on December 24th, decorated with apples, came into Europe (and the Americas) by way of the East.  In Germany there was also a custom of placing a lit Christmas candle on top of a wooden pyramid decorated with evergreen twigs.   In time the wooden pyramid was replaced by the Paradise tree, decorated with apples and lighted candles.

            No doubt the Advent wreath was suggested, at least in part, by the Christmas tree.   It seems that the Advent wreath originated a few hundred years ago among the Lutheran Christians of eastern Germany.  A wreath of evergreens, made of various sizes, was either suspended from the ceiling or placed on a table.   Four candles representing the four Sundays of Advent were fastened to the wreath.  Eventually the use of the Advent wreath became wide-spread and moved also from the home into the church.   The general symbolism of the Advent wreath lies in the growing light of the wreath, increasing each week as we approach the birthday of Jesus the Light of the world.

            The color of the candles in the Advent wreath is dictated by whatever emphasis a particular home or congregation gives to the season.   While the emphasis may change somewhat according to the sermons, the traditional emphases in Advent are those of repentance and anticipation (the Sunday sermons are generally more “up-beat” and “joyous,”  while mid-week sermons tend to be slightly more “sober” and “penitent” in character).  That’s why the altar cloths and furnishings are either in the color of purple (the traditional color of repentance) or blue (another penitential color) throughout the Advent season.   It’s no wonder, then, that the prevalent color (three out of five) of the Advent wreath candles is purple or blue.  

            The purple candle lit in our wreath on the first Sunday in Advent is called “the Candle of Prophecy,” and symbolizes the Old Testament prophecies of the coming of the Savior.   The second Advent candle (also purple) is referred to as the “Bethlehem Candle,” symbolizing the coming to earth of Jesus, the Son of God, born of the virgin Mary.  The Third Advent candle (pink or rose-colored) is the “Shepherd Candle” and represents the coming of the Savior into the hearts and lives of His believers through His Holy Word.  The pink/rose color serves to remind us that a note of joy should also heard in this penitential season.  The fourth and final purple candle is the “Angel Candle,” symbolizing the final coming of the Savior in glory with all His holy angels.  The white candle at the center of the wreath is the “Christ Candle,” symbolizing the perfection of Christ, the fulfillment of prophesy, and the centrality of Jesus in our Advent preparations.   This “Christ Candle” remains unlighted during Advent in anticipation of the birth of the Savior, the Light of the world.  Advent’s penitent emphasis focuses our attention on our sins and the need for a Savior, but on Christmas Day we joyfully celebrate the birth of that Savior….and so we then light the white Christ Candle.  

            White candles also replace the purple and pink ones, and the purple altar cloths are replaced by white altar cloths with the arrival of Christmas Day and the formal celebration of Jesus’ birth.   The wreath, now with all white candles, continues to be used until the Christmas Season officially ends with the arrival of Epiphany on January 6th.  The white altar cloths continue to be used through the first Sunday of Epiphany.   The colors then change to green.



Prayer in Preparation for Worship:   Heavenly Father, please guide me in wisdom and truth through Your Holy Spirit, as I spend this hour meditating on Your Word and rejoicing in Your limitless love for me.  Assist me in being attentive in heart and mind to Your Word, as well as to the hymns of praise, the various petitions, and the prayers of thanksgiving my voice directs toward You.  Use this worship service, O Lord, to deepen my love for You, to strengthen my trust in You, and to renew my commitment to You.  All this I ask for the sake of and in the name of Your One and only Son, Jesus Christ, my Savior.  Amen.



The portions of God’s Word used in this worship flyer have been taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version    Copyright 2019,    The Wartburg Project, Inc.   All rights reserved.   Used with permission Music and lyrics, as needed, are used with permission via #A712831



Pre-service prayer                                                                                                                Pre-worship music


We Praise Our God


Welcoming and Introduction to Worship


after the Pastor’s greeting, the Congregation will rise


The Invocation           In the name of the Father

                                    and of the Son

                                    and of the Holy Spirit.   Amen.



Our Psalm for Today                                                                                                                           Psalm 8

P:         O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth.

C:        You have set Your glory above the heavens.   +   From the lips of children and infants   +   You have ordained          praise because of Your enemies,   +   to silence the foe and the avenger.

P:         When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in   place,

C:        What is man that You are mindful of Him,  +    the Son of Man that You should care for Him?


P:         You made Him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned Him with love and compassion.

C:        You made Him Ruler over the works of Your hands;   +   You put everything under His feet.


P:         all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.

C:        O LORD, our Lord,   +   how majestic is Your name in all the earth!


after which the Congregation will be seated for


The Opening Anthem:                                                                                   The Children and the Shepherds


(Choir)   Have you seen a star brightly shining in the distant sky?

Have you heard a song gently rising through the winter night?

Have you heard a wondrous story?   Is it true what people say?

Have you seen a Child sweetly sleeping on a bed of hay?


(Choir)    O come, little children, and share our delight

O come to the stable and gaze at the sight.

The Child you are seeking is God’s precious Son.

With joy and with peace and with love He has come.


(Children)    How we see the star brightly shining in the distant sky.

Now we hear the song gently rising through the winter night.

Now we know the wondrous story.   It is true what people say?….

Now we see the Child sweetly sleeping on a bed of hay.


(Children)    “Glory be to God!   Glory!  Glory!”  Angels sing on high.

“Glory be to God!   Glory!  Glory!”   echoes through the sky.

“Hallelujah, hallelujah!”   Joyfully their praises raise.

“Glory be to God!   Glory!  Glory!”    Sing this Christmas praise.”

(Choir sings the following during the verse above)


O come, little children, rejoicing on high.

O come and adore Him, and stay at His side.

Come join with the angles to sing out with praise,

For Jesus, the Savior, is born on this day.


after the children and choir return to their seats, at the pastor’s invitation, the Congregation will rise as


We Make Confession of Our Sins To Our God


Pastor  Beloved in the Lord!  Let us draw near with a true heart and confess our sins to God our Father, asking Him, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, to grant us the forgiveness of all our sins.  Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.


Pastor Almighty God, our Maker and Redeemer, we poor sinners confess unto You that we are by nature sinful and unclean, and that we have sinned against You by thought, word, and deed.  Therefore we flee for refuge to Your infinite mercy, seeking and imploring Your grace, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Congregation  O most merciful God, who has given Your only-begotten Son to die for us, have mercy upon us, and for His sake, grant us remission of all our sins;  and by Your Holy Spirit, increase in us true knowledge of You and of Your will, and true obedience to Your  word,  to the end, that by Your grace, we may come to everlasting life;  through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


Pastor  Almighty God, our heavenly Father, has had mercy upon us, and has given His only Son to die for us, and for Jesus’ sake forgives us all our sins.  To those who believe on His name, He gives the power to become the sons of God, and has promised them His Holy Spirit.  And now, having heard your voluntary confession,  and in accordance with the responsibilities entrusted to me through the Ministry of the Keys, I proclaim the grace and mercy of God to all of you, and in the place of and according to the command of the Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.


We Respond To God’s Forgiveness


Lift up Your Heads, You mighty gates   Behold, the King of Glory waits.

The King of kings is drawing near;   The Savior of the world is here.

Life and salvation He does bring   Therefore the world is glad and sings:

To God the Father raise   Your joyful songs of praise.

Redeemer come, I open wide    My heart to You.  Here Lord abide

Oh, enter with Your saving grace;  Show me Your kind and friendly face.

Your Holy Spirit, guide us on   Until our glorious goal is won

Eternal praise and fame,  We offer to Your name.     Amen.


Pastor –                        “Behold, people of God!  Your King comes to you; 


Congregation –            He is just and brings salvation!


Pastor –                        “Rejoice people of God!   Your Lord Jesus Christ has appeared and fulfilled God’s promises of old for your comfort and salvation.”


Congregation –            The Lord is near to all who call upon Him in truth.   My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord.    O my God, You are my Help and my Deliverer;  do not delay.



The Prayer For The Fourth Sunday in Advent                                                                                               


O Almighty God, Lord of heaven and earth + through Your Spirit’s working in our hearts + enable us to live godly lives day by day   +    as we look forward to Your second coming.   +   Enable us to walk faithfully  +  in the paths of Your righteousness  +  so that, by Your grace,  + we may receive – through faith – the eternal, heavenly inheritance   +   which You have prepared us   +   and for all who are part of  Your Church.  +  All this we ask   +  in the name of Jesus Christ, +  Your Son our Lord   +  Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit   + as the One, tree God, + now and  forever.   +  Amen.

After this the Congregation will be seated as


We Hear God’s Word


The Old Testament Lesson                                                                                                          Isaiah 7:1-17


            This took place in the days when Ahaz, the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah. Rezin king of Aram, and Pekah son of Remaliah, the king of Israel, marched up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but they could not capture it.   2 The house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim.” The heart of Ahaz trembled, and the heart of his people trembled as the trees of the forest tremble in the wind.


            3 Then the Lord said to Isaiah:   Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear Jashub.   Meet him at the end of the water channel from the upper pool, on the road that goes to the launderers field.    4 Tell Ahaz, “Get control of yourself, and remain calm. Do not be afraid. Do not lose your courage because of these two stubs of smoldering torches. Do not be afraid because of the fierce anger of Rezin, Aram, and the son of Remaliah, 5 even though Aram, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah have plotted evil against you and said, 6 ‘Let’s go up against Judah and tear it apart. Let’s divide it among ourselves and set up a king over it, namely, this son of Tabe’el.’”


            7 This is what the Lord God says.   Their plan shall not succeed.    It shall not take place.   8 Yes, the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin,   but within sixty-five years Ephraim will be broken into pieces,  so that it will no longer be a people.   9 The head of Ephraim is only Samaria, and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son.   If you do not stand firm in faith,  you will not stand at all.


            10 The Lord spoke to Ahaz again. He said, 11 “Ask for a sign from the Lord your God. Ask for it either in the depths below or in the heights above.”   12 But Ahaz responded, “I will not ask. I will not test the Lord.”


            13 So Isaiah said:  Listen now, you house of David. Is it not enough for you to test the patience of men? Will you test the patience of my God as well? 14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give a sign for all of you. Look! The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son and name Him Immanuel.  15 He will eat curds and honey by the time He knows how to refuse evil and choose good, 16 because even before the Child knows how to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken.   17 The Lord will bring on you, on your people, and on your father’s house days worse than any since the day that Ephraim broke away from Judah. The Lord will bring the king of Assyria.



The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                                      Romans 1:1-7


            Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which He promised in advance through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures. 3 This gospel is about His Son—Who in the flesh was born a descendant of David, 4 Who in the spirit of holiness was declared to be God’s powerful Son by His resurrection from the dead—Jesus Christ, our Lord. 5 Through Him we received grace and the call to be an apostle on behalf of His name, to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles, 6 including you, who were called by Jesus Christ. 


            7 To all those loved by God who are in Rome, called to be saints:  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.



The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                 Matthew 1:18-25


            18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. His mother, Mary, was pledged in marriage to Joseph. Before they came together, she was found to be with Child by the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, her husband, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her. So he decided to divorce her privately. 20 But as he was considering these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because the Child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”  


            22 All this happened to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “Look, the virgin will be with Child and will give birth to a Son. And they will name Him Immanuel,” which means, “God with us.”


            24 When Joseph woke up from his sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him. He took Mary home as his wife, 25 but he was not intimate with her until she gave birth to her firstborn Son.   And he named Him Jesus.


Our Second Musical Selection                                                                                     “Away in the Manger”


(Children)    Away in the manger, no crib for a bed,

The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head;

The stars in the sky looked down where He lay,

The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.


(Children)    The cattle are lowing, the poor Baby wakes,

But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes;

I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky,

And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.


(Congregation)    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.

The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                                  Luke 1:26-38


            26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin pledged in marriage to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.”

            29 But she was greatly troubled by the statement and was wondering what kind of greeting this could be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, because you have found favor with God. 31 Listen, you will conceive and give birth to a Son, and you are to name Him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will never end.”

            34 Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”  35 The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Listen, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age even though she was called barren, and this is her sixth month. 37 For nothing will be impossible for God.”   38 Then Mary said, “See, I am the Lord’s servant. May it happen to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.


God Can Do Anything …..Including the Impossible


The Sermon Hymn                                                                           “We Now Praise Christ, the Holy One”

                                                                                sung to the melody of “From Heaven Above To Earth I Come”

                                                                            based on a hymn by Coelius Sedulius, c 450, (adapted, cwh 2004)


Now we praise Christ, the Holy One, The blessed Virgin Mary’s Son.

From east to west, from shore to shore Let earth its Lord and King adore.


He Who Himself all things did make A Servant’s form agreed to take

That He, as man, mankind might win And save His creatures from their sin.


The grace and pow’r of God the Lord Upon the mother was outpoured;

A Virgin pure and undefiled  In wond’rous way conceived a Child.


The noble mother bore a Son – For so did Gabriel’s promise run –

God’s holy Law He’d satisfy Then give His life, our death to die.


All honor unto Christ the Lord Eternal and incarnate Word

Who, with the Spirit, e’er shall be One in the Father’s majesty.     Amen.


After which the Congregation will remain seated for


The Greeting


Grace and peace be yours in abundance, through the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  May the God of peace fill you with all joy in believing!   Amen.


Sermon Text                                                                                                                           Matthew 1:18-25

                                                                                                                                        today’s Gospel Lesson


Three Miracles of Christmas

The Post-Sermon Blessing


Now to Him Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, to Him to glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever.  Amen!


after which the Congregation will rise for



The Apostles’ Creed


I  believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.   And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;  Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost;  Born of the virgin Mary;  Suffered under Pontius Pilate;  Was crucified, dead, and buried;  He descended into hell;  The third day He rose again from the dead;  He ascended into heaven;  And sawteeth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.   I believe in the Holy Ghost;  The Holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints;  The forgiveness of sins;  The resurrection of the body;  And the life everlasting.  Amen.


after which the Congregation will be seated for



We Offer God Our Gifts and Prayers


The Offering


Offerings will be received this morning through offering plates passed among those who have gathered here for worship.      However, for those watching this worship service, we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:     

1) You can mail a check (no cash) to the church address (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745)

2) You can go to our website ( and use the giving option.

At the Pastor’s invitation, the Congregation will rise for


The Prayers for this Day 


Included in our prayers today are

Prayers of Intercession for …..

Ralph Terrian, who is recovering at Mercy Hospital in Springfield, from back surgery that he had this past Friday;  and

for Dan Beck, who will be receiving treatment for cancer;

In addition,

We offer A Prayer of Thanksgiving……

on behalf of Bill and Rosy Krizsan, who are celebrating their wedding anniversary today.


The Lord’s Prayer   


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, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.  Amen.




We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing


The Benediction


The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.

The Lord look with favor upon you, and give you His peace.  Amen.



The Closing Children’s Selection:                                                                  “Go Tell It On The Mountain”


Refrain   Go tell it on the mountain   over the hills and everywhere

Go tell it on the mountain    that Jesus Christ is born


While shepherds kept their watching o’er silent flocks by night;

Behold throughout the heavens there shone a Holy Light.   Refrain


Down in a lowly manger  our humble Christ was born

and God sent us salvation    that blessed Christmas morn.   Refrain


Silent Prayer






Recently at Grace Lutheran Church                                                                            Sunday Attendance: 74

Online views: 16    Bible Class Attendance: 30     Online participation: 19                                                       

Sunday School: 9                                                                                                    Budgetary Offerings:  $4450

Online Budget Offerings: $1120.89                                                                                 Tuesday Bible Class: 8

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This Coming Week at Grace Lutheran Church

Today Choir Rehearsal, 8:40 a.m.                              Morning Worship,  9:30 a.m.

                        Fellowship Period, 10:45 a.m.                           Bible Class / Sunday School – 11:05 a.m.                                                                                  

                        Youth Confirmation Class, 12:15 to 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday          Bible study, 10:30 a.m.

Friday             Christmas Eve Worship Service, 7:00 p.m.

Saturday         Christmas Day Festival Worship, 9:30 a.m.

Sunday           Morning Worship, 9:30 a.m.   Fellowship,  10:40 a.m.   Education Time, 11:05 am


Serving Next Week (12-26 & 31)                                Elders: Tim Pfortmiller, Rick Tragasz

Ushers:   Taylor Ashley, John Johnson, John Wambold                Altar Guild:   Mary Karloski, Karen Swogger


Anniversary This Week      Dec 19 – Bill & Rosy Krizsan;  


Today’s and Tuesday’s  Bible Classes ……..In Bible Class today we’re  studying 1 Corinthians 11, which focuses on appropriate conduct in worship, women’s roles in the Church, and the Lord’s Supper.   Tuesday, from 10:30-11:30 am, we’ll study 2 Kings 17-18, considering and the destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and the beginning of the reign of Judah’s King Hezekiah. 

New Year’s Eve Worship Service Coming……   Please remember that on Friday, December 31st, we’ll hold a special service of thanksgiving to our God, remembering His blessings given to us over the course of 2021, and anticipating His support for the new year, 2022.   Our service on New Year’s Eve includes the Lord’s Supper and begins at 7:00 p.m.


Do You Know Anyone….not currently attending a church?   Have you prayerfully taken the opportunity to invite him/her/them to worship with you (and us) at one of our upcoming special services (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve), or on any Sunday in the future?  Could you share that person’s name and address with us, so we might also encourage him/her to visit us for worship?   If so, please speak with Pastor.  Thank you for helping us do that important work for the Lord.


Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Worship Services     This coming Friday evening,  December 24th, at 7:00 p.m. we’ll meet at church for a special Christmas Eve worship service to begin our two day observance of our Savior’s birth.  The next day, Saturday morning, December 25th, we’ll also meet, at 9:30 a.m., for the festival celebration of Christ’s nativity.   We’re looking forward to joining with you in these special commemorations of our Savior’s birth.  – And PLEASE be sure to invite those of your family and friends who don’t have a church home of their own to come and celebrate our Savior’s birth with us here at Grace Lutheran Church!


Christmas Poinsettias at Church!   A request to those of you who will enjoy the beauty of a poinsettia plant in your home this Christmas season:   Please consider sharing its beauty with us during our worship services on Friday  (the 24th) and Christmas Day (the 25th).   We’d like to use your poinsettias as part of a large floral arrangement beautifying the chancel (front) area of our church during those services.   Finally, please be sure to “label” your poinsettia(s) with your name, so we can make sure it returns to you.


Christmas Gift Bags for ALL The Young People Worshiping With Us This Morning   At the close of today’s worship service, we would like to offer Christmas gift bags to all the young people who are in attendance this morning.    We’ll be passing them out after the announcements at the very back of the rear seating area.