The Fourth Sunday in Advent – Christmas Eve 2023

What Christmas Is All About:

Peace with God and Our Salvation in Christ

            A grade school class was putting on a Christmas play which included the story of Mary and Joseph coming to the inn in Bethlehem.   In that class was one little boy who wanted very much to be Joseph.  But when the parts were handed out, his biggest classroom competitor was given that part, and he was assigned to be the inn keeper instead.  He was more than a little bitter about it.

            So during all the rehearsals he kept plotting in his mind what he

might do the night of performance to get even with his rival who got to play the role of Joseph that he deserved.   The night of the performance arrived.  Mary and Joseph came walking across the stage. They knocked on the door of the inn.   The inn-keeper opened the door and asked them gruffly what they wanted.

            Joseph answered, “We’d like to have a room for the night.” Suddenly the inn-keeper, grinning, threw the door open wide and said, “Great, come on in and I’ll give you the best room in the house.”

            For a few seconds poor little Joseph didn’t know what to do, and

a long silence ensued. Finally though, thinking quickly on his feet, Joseph looked in past the inn-keeper, first to the left and then to the right and said, “No wife of mine is going to stay in a dump like this. Come on, Mary, let’s go to the barn.” And once again the Christmas story was back on its correct course.

            When you and I set up our nativity sets for this Christmas season 2023, one of the figures that is often not given much attention is Joseph.  He’s not featured in most of the Christmas hymns and carols.   Not a single word he ever spoke is recorded in Scripture.   In our nativity scenes, Joseph typically stands back in the shadows, watching over Mary, adoring Jesus.   But, at least in my estimation, Joseph – in many ways – is the unsung hero of the Christmas story.   Just as surely as God chose Mary to be the mother of the Messiah, He also chose Joseph to be a stepfather, or father-figure on earth, for Jesus!   And what great faith Joseph had!   Though convinced in his well-reasoning mind that his now-pregnant fiancee Mary must have been “unfaithful” to him, and although planning to divorce her privately….instead of ending his engagement-marriage to Mary, Joseph immediately accepted the word of the angel Gabriel (just as Mary had when Gabriel told her she had been chosen to miraculously give birth to the Promised Messiah, even though she was still a virgin).     Once God’s messenger spoke to him, Joseph changed his mind completely.  He now believed that Mary’s baby was a miracle and the Messiah, and He promptly took Mary to be his wife.  His faith was nothing short of amazing!

            Of course, so was the faith of Mary.   Her second cousin, Zechariah, had doubted Gabriel’s words about him and Elizabeth having a miracle-baby (John the Baptist) in view of their advanced age and infertility.   When Gabriel came to Mary informing her that God would bless her with the privilege of being the Messiah’s mother, she was shocked, and although she honestly inquired how a virgin could become pregnant, she never doubted the angel’s word.  She believed what God told her.

            For that matter, so did the Old Testament believers who faithfully embraced over 300 Messianic prophecies spread across many centuries.    You can make a compelling argument that their faith in God’s promises about the coming Savior might just be the most amazing faith in the Christmas story.   Those various prophecies were given out piecemeal, in drips and drivels, bit by bit.   It took so many years of waiting and trusting before the Messiah finally would be born.   Nevertheless, beginning with Adam and Eve in Eden, down through believers like Abraham, Jacob, David, Isaiah, Micah and Jeremiah – among so many others, God’s Old Testament people trusted in His every word and promise.  They remained confident they were heaven’s heirs through the redeeming work of a not well-known Messiah they were waiting for.   Was their faith amazing?   You know it was!

            And then there were those familiar shepherds from the fields of Bethlehem.   They, too, grace our nativity scenes, along with their sheep.   Their faith was also amazing, as they hurried to the stable and manger to adore the newborn Baby, who was also the world’s and their Savior, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a humble manger.   And once they left the stable, they witnessed far and wide to their families, friends and strangers what they had – by God’s grace – seen and heard on that first Christmas.   Particularly interesting is that God first sent His angels to these “ordinary” people (rather than the political and religious “elites” in nearby Jerusalem) so that they could celebrate the Savior’s birth (just as we’re doing today).  




Serving Us This Morning

Elders:    John Johnson, Tim Pfortmiller                                                               Organist:   Debbie Huebner

Altar Guild:   Mary Karloski, Vicki Walker

Ushers: Taylor Ashley, John Wambold    Fellowship: the Huebners




Pre-Service Prayer -Heavenly Father, please guide me in wisdom and truth through Your Holy Spirit, as I spend this time 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.



Pre-Service Music   


Pre-Service Hymn Singing                                                                                          beginning at 9:20 a.m.


It came upon a midnight clear   That glorious sound of old,

From angels bending near the earth    To touch their harps of gold;

“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men,   

From heav’n’s all-gracious king.”

The world in solemn stillness lay     To hear the angels sing.


All you beneath your heavy load,     By care and guilt bend low,

Who toil along a dreary way    With painful steps and slow;

Look up, for golden is the hour,    Come swiftly on the wing,

THE Prince was born to bring you peace;     Of Him the angels sing.


+ + + + + + + +


Let us all with gladsome voice   Praise the God of heaven,

Who, to bid our hearts rejoice,    His own Son has given.


+ + + + + + + +


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;

Be hold 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


+ + + + + + + + + +


Behold a Branch is growing   Of lovliest form and grace,

As prophets sang, foreknowing;   It springs from Jesse’s race

And bears one little flow’r   

In midst of coldest winter, at deepest midnight hour.


+ + + + + + + + + +


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.




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




We Praise Our God


The Greeting and Invitation to Worship   – Pastor


The Invocation


We begin this morning’s worship service…..

In the name of the Father,

by Whose word the world was created, and by Whose power all things are sustained.  And

of the Son,

by Whose sinless life, innocent suffering and sacrificial death

we have been redeemed,

and by Whose resurrection we are assured of everlasting life in heaven.


of the Holy Spirit,

 Who – through the Means of Grace has both brought us to faith and keeps us in this one, true, Christian faith.



We Confess our Sins Before Our Lord


Pastor: God, our Heavenly Father, invites us to come into His presence and to worship Him with humble and penitent hearts.  Therefore, let us now turn to Him, acknowledging our sinfulness and seeking His forgiveness for all our sins.


Congregation              Holy and merciful Father,   I confess that I am by nature sinful   and that I have disobeyed You in  my thoughts, words, and actions;    I have done what is evil in Your sight   and have failed to do what is good.    For this I know that I deserve Your punishment, both now and for eternity.     But I am truly sorry for all my sins    and trusting in the perfect life     and innocent death of my Savior, Jesus Christ,  I plead:    God have mercy on me, a sinner.

Pastor  Our gracious Lord and Master has shown us His mercy:   He has given His one and only Son to save us from all our sins.     And now, carrying out my office as a called servant of Christ,  and according to His command and authority,   I forgive you all your sins   in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  May the peace of God rest upon all of you.   Amen.


After which the Congregation will be seated for


The Opening Hymn                                                                            Hymn 55   “Oh, Come All Ye Faithful”


1 Oh, come, all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant,

Oh, come ye, oh, come ye to Bethlehem;

Come and behold him, Born the King of angels.   Refrain:


Refrain:        Oh, come, let us adore him,   Oh, come, let us adore him,   Oh, come, let us adore him,  Christ the Lord.


2 God from true God, and Light from Light eternal,

Born of a virgin, to earth he comes,

Only begotten Son of God the Father. [Refrain]


3 Sing, choirs of angels, Sing in exultation;

Sing, all ye citizens of heav’n above.

Glory to God, All glory in the highest. [Refrain]


4 Yea, Lord, we greet thee, Born this happy morning;

Jesus, to thee be all glory giv’n,

Word of the Father, Now in flesh appearing. [Refrain]



After which the Congregation will rise for


The Psalm for Christmas Eve                                                                                                                                                                             selected verses of Psalm 89


P:         I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever;

C:         With my mouth I will make Your faithfulness known through all generations.


P:         I will declare that Your love stands firm forever,

C:         That You established Your faithfulness in heaven itself.


P:         You said, “I have made a covenant with My chosen one, I have sworn to My servant David,

C:         ‘I will establish Your line forever and make Your throne firm through all generations.'”


P:         Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;  love and faithfulness go before You.

C:         Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You,  who walk in the light of Your presence.


P:         They rejoice in Your name all day long;   they exult in Your righteousness.

C:         For You are their glory and strength, and by Your favor, You exalt our Horn.



The Christmas Eve Prayer


We thank You, almighty God, for the gift of Your Son, Who humbled Himself to become our Brother.   Grant that the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ may free us from slavery to sin  and bring us into the glorious liberty of serving Him in His kingdom.   We ask this for the sake of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.   Amen.

after which the Congregation may be seated for


The Choral Selection                                                                                                   “The Joy of Christmas”


Good Christian men rejoice….with heart and soul and voice!

Give ye heed to what we say:    Jesus Christ is born today.

Man and beast before Him bow, and He is in a manger now —

Christ was born today.   Christ was born today.


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 th’ angelic hosts proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem.”

Hark!   The herald angels sing, “Glory to the Newborn King!”


Angels from the realms of glory,    Wing your flight o’er all the earth;

Ye who sang creation’s story,    Now proclaim Messiah’s birth.

Come and worship, come and worship,

worship Christ the Newborn King.


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.


Christ is born today, Christ is born today!


The Children’s Devotion                                                                                                   II Corinthians 9:15


Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!


The One Gift That’s Perfect For Everyone



Christ’s Coming Was Promised by God –

Predicted in Many Places in the Old Testament


Pastor:    Long before the Savior came, holy writers prophesied His coming to earth to dwell among us and to deliver us from the curse of our sin.   At this point in our service, we will review just a few of the more than 300 Old Testament prophesies which God used to progressively prepare His peoples’ heads and hearts on the Coming Messiah.   Among those prophesies is this one:   the first Gospel promise.   It is found in Genesis 3:15.   The Lord announced it to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, shortly after they had fallen into sin:


Congregation “I will put hostility between you and the woman,  and between your seed and her Seed.  He will crush your head, and you will crush His heel.


Pastor: While blessing each of his 12 sons in the final days of his life, the patriarch Jacob prophesied that the Savior from sin and the King of heaven and earth would come through the tribe of Judah.  We hear, from Genesis 49:10:


Congregation “The scepter will not depart from Judah,  nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until the One to Whom it belongs comes.   He will receive the obedience of the peoples.


Pastor  Narrowing the focus further, in chapter 23:5 Jeremiah foretold that the Messiah would come from a special family within the tribe of Judah.  He would be born from King David’s family:  “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch.  This is the name by which He will be called:  The Lord our Righteousness.”   700 years before Jesus’  birth Isaiah prophesied, in Isaiah 7:14, that the Savior would be born to a virgin.  He wrote:


Congregation 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


Pastor              Here is another of the precious Old Testament prophesies about the Coming Savior.   In these inspired words Isaiah makes it clear that the Messiah will be the God-Man, both fully human and fully God.   We listen now to Isaiah 9:6-7:


Congregation  For to us a Child is born.  To us a Son is given.  The authority to rule will rest on His shoulders.   He will be  named:  Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  There will be no limit to His authority and no end to the peace He brings. He will rule on David’s throne and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness  from now on, into eternity.   The zeal of the Lord of Armies will accomplish this.


Pastor  Under the Holy Spirit’s guidance, the prophet Micah – a contemporary of Isaiah’s – even  designated the city in which the Savior was to be born.   He writes, in Micah 5:2:


Congregation But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,  though you are small among the clans of Judah, from you, will go out the One Who will be the Ruler for Me in Israel. His goings forth are from the beginning, from the days of eternity.


The Second Hymn                                                                                     Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Only Son

To “O Tannenbaum”   cwh Advent 2001


O Jesus Christ, God’s only Son,   You came to earth from heaven,

Fulfilled the Prophets – every one –   For us and our salvation.

The “Woman’s Seed,” and Abram’s Son,   Yet truly you’re th’ Eternal One,

The righteous Son of David, THE   Messiah, long-awaited.


Lord Jesus, Sole Begotten Son,   Be-lov-ed by the Father,

The miracles that You have done   Affirmed You are none other

Than the True God in human form   Spirit-conceived and Virgin born.

The perfect Keeper of the Law –   To free us from its burden.


You stood before accusers, mute   Rejected by Your nation

You bled and died, my Substitute   You earned for me salvation.

O Lamb of God You took away   The whole world’s sin….Now hear me pray:

May peace and joy fill all this day –   Who trust in You, dear Savior.


Oh Savior of the nations, Come,      In majesty and glory

Attended by Your angel hosts      Complete our earthly story.

As Judge of living and the dead,   Forever You’re the Church’s Head.

By grace, through faith in You, ahead   For us is Heav’nly glory.    





The Angel Gabriel Announces The Coming Savior’s Birth to Mary

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.



The Third Hymn                                                               Hymn 24 “The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came”


1  The angel Gabriel from heaven came,   His wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;

“All hail,” said he to meek and lowly Mary,   “Most highly favored maiden.” Gloria!

2 “I come from heav’n to tell the Lord’s decree:   A blessed virgin mother you shall be.

Your Son shall be Immanuel, by seers foretold,   “Most highly favored maiden.” Gloria!


3 Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head;   “To me be as it pleases God,” she said.

“My soul shall praise and magnify his holy name.”  Most highly favored maiden, Gloria!


4 Of her Immanuel, the Christ, was born   In Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn,

And Christian folk throughout the world will ever say,   “Most highly favored maiden.” Gloria!



The Angel Gabriel Announces  The Coming Savior’s Birth to Joseph

            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.



The Fourth Hymn                                                                                          Hymn 67   “What Child Is This”

1 What child is this who, laid to rest,   On Mary’s lap is sleeping?

Whom angels greet With anthems sweet   While shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ the King,   Whom shepherds guard and angels sing.

Haste, haste to bring him laud, The babe, the Son of Mary! 


2 Why lies he in such mean estate   Where oxen now are feeding?

Good Christians, fear; For sinners here   The silent Word is pleading.

Nails, spear shall pierce him through;   The cross he’ll bear for me, for you.

Hail, hail the Word made flesh, The babe, the Son of Mary!


3 So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh;    Come, peasant, king, to own him.

The King of kings Salvation brings;   Let loving hearts enthrone him.

Raise, raise the song on high;   The virgin sings her lullaby.

Joy, joy, for Christ is born, The babe, the Son of Mary!



The Savior of the World Is Born

Luke 2:1-7


In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 And everyone went to register, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the town of Nazareth, into Judea, to the town of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was from the house and family line of David. 5 He went to be registered with Mary, his wife, who was pledged to him in marriage and was expecting a child.


6 And so it was that while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son, wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.



The Fifth Hymn                                                                                             Hymn 68   “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 you, Lord Jesus; look down from the sky,   And stay by my side until morning is nigh.


3 Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask you to stay   Close by me forever and love me, I pray.

Bless all the dear children in your tender care,   And take us to heaven to live with you there.




God’s Angels Announce to Shepherds The Savior’s Birth

Luke 2:8-14


“8 There were in the same country shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to 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 behold, I bring you good news of great joy, which will be for all people: 11 Today in the town of David, a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude from the heavenly army, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward mankind.”



The Next Hymn                                                                                            Hymn 37   “From Heaven Above”


1 “From heav’n above to earth I come  To bear good news to ev’ry home;

Glad tidings of great joy I bring,   Whereof I now will say and sing:


2 “To you this night is born a child   Of Mary, chosen virgin mild;

This little child of lowly birth   Shall be the joy of all the earth.


5 “These are the signs which you shall mark:    The swaddling clothes and manger dark.

There you will find the infant laid     By whom the heav’ns and earth were made.”


14 My heart for very joy must leap;  My lips no more can silence keep.

I, too, must sing with joyful tongue    That sweetest ancient cradle song:


15 Glory to God in highest heaven,   Who unto us his Son has given!

While angels sing with pious mirth    A glad new year to all the earth.

The Shepherds Worship and Share Their Savior

Luke 2:15-20

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Now let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they told others the message they had been told about this child. 18 And all who heard it were amazed by what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”


The Confession of our Faith in Christ, our Savior

I believe 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 sitteth at the right hand of God the Father almighty;   +  From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.


What does this mean?


I believe that Jesus Christ, true God,   +    begotten of the Father from eternity,   +   and also true Man,    +   born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord.  +    He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature,     +    purchased and won me from all sins,    +   from death,    +   and from the power of the devil,    +    not with gold or silver,    +    but with His holy, precious blood,    +   and with His innocent suffering and death.   +  All this He did that I should be His own,    +    and live under Him in His kingdom,    +  serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness,   +     just as He has risen from death   +    and lives and rules eternally.    +   This is most certainly true.   +    Amen.



The Sermon Hymn                                                                          Hymn 61 “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”


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 th’ angelic host proclaim,   “Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Hark! The herald angels sing,   “Glory to the newborn King!”

2 Christ, by highest heav’n adored,   Christ, the everlasting Lord,

Late in time behold him come,   Offspring of a virgin’s womb.

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,   Hail th’ incarnate Deity!

Pleased as man with us to dwell,   Jesus, our Immanuel!

Hark! The herald angels sing,   “Glory to the newborn King!”


3 Hail, the heav’nly Prince of Peace!   Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!

Light and life to all he brings,   Ris’n with healing in his wings.

Mild he lays his glory by,   Born that we no more may die,

Born to raise us from the earth,   Born to give us second birth.

Hark! The herald angels sing,   “Glory to the newborn King!”



The Sermon Text                                                                                                                                Luke 2:14

What Christmas Is All About


The Post-Sermon Blessing


To Him Who loves us, and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father – to Him be glory and power, for ever and ever.  Amen.!      


  • We Bring our Offerings and Prayers before the Lord


    Offerings will be received this morning through offering plates passed among those who have gathered here for worship.

       However, for those viewing this service online,  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 also donate on our website:



    The Offering

    During the offering, our church’s handbell

    choir will play “The First Noel”

    and “What Child Is This?”







    Prayer of the Church on Christmas Eve


    P:   Eternal Father, we give You thanks and praise on this holy day for sending Your one and only Son to share our humanity, to carry our guilt, and to become for us the perfect Lamb Who takes away the sin of the world.

    C:   We adore You, O Lord.


    P:   Keep our faith in Your Son alive and strong. Nourish us with Your Word and Sacrament and, by Your Holy Spirit, give us strength to overcome Satan’s power and pride. Help us to withstand the temptations the world and our sinful nature put in our path.


    C:   Give us courage, O Lord.

    Remember ministers of the gospel throughout the world who on this day are proclaiming that a Savior has been born. We especially commend to Your care the missionaries we, as members of the Wisconsin Synod, have called to serve on our behalf.     Since they cannot enjoy the fellowship of their extended families this Christmas, we pray that You would give them the inner joy that comes with service in Your kingdom.


    C:   Protect all those who preach the gospel in our place, O Lord.


    P:   We pray for our community, O Lord, and for all who live and work and find delight here. Keep the economy of our nation strong so that we may enjoy plenty from which to bring You our first and best offerings.

    C:   Govern and prosper Your people, O Lord.

    As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who are less fortunate than we are. Give us hearts that truly care for people who need our help. If it is Your will, bring Your powerful healing to those who are sick or diseased in body or mind. We pray especially for brothers and sisters who are setting aside their celebration today to care for the sick, feed the bedridden, and stand at the side of the dying.

    C:    Sustain those who endure the troubles of life, O Lord.

    Be a source of strength to the members of this congregation. Comfort all who have lost a loved one during the past year, support those who are troubled, and be with those who are spending Christmas alone. If any are among us today who have lost the true meaning of this festival, let them rediscover the joy that comes from Christ alone.

    C:                                              Let Your peace reign in the hearts of all, O Lord.

                                                                  Special prayers and intercessions

    Hear us, Lord, as we bring You our private petitions and praises.

                                                                                  Silent prayer

    As You sent Your Son to bring peace to all people on earth, so we pray for all people, those known and those unknown to us. Hear us as we join in the prayer Your Son taught us:

    C:   Our Father Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as in heaven. Give us this today 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 for ever and ever. Amen.

    We Conclude This Service


    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 upon you with favor, and give you His peace.   Amen.



    The Closing Hymn                                                                                                  Hymn 62 “Joy to the World”

    1 Joy to the world, the Lord is come!   Let earth receive her King;

    Let ev’ry heart prepare him room   And heav’n and nature sing,

    And heav’n and nature sing,   And heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing.


    2 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.


    3 No more let sins and sorrows grow   Nor thorns infest the ground;

    He comes to make his blessings flow   Far as the curse is found,

    Far as the curse is found,   Far as, far as the curse is found.


    4 He rules the world with truth and grace   And makes the nations prove

    The glories of his righteousness   And wonders of his love,

    And wonders of his love,   And wonders, wonders of his love.


    …..for being a participant in this morning’s worship service.

    It’s been our privilege to share with you the joyous message

    of the angels, that God has intended to be proclaimed by all His people:

    that to us a Savior has been born.   He is Christ the Lord!


    An Invitation To You 

    If you have no church home of your own, and/or are looking for religious truth and spiritual certainty as a foundation for your life and to insure your eternal future, then we invite you to consider becoming a part of this Christian fellowship called Grace Lutheran Church.    For more information on becoming a member of our church family, speak with our Pastor after today’s worship service, or at your convenience.    We thank you for the opportunity to serve you with God’s Word and to have you as a part of our worshiping family today.  We do hope that you will worship and study with us again soon, and often.   Please know that you will always be welcome at Grace Lutheran Church.  May God bless you, now and always, in Jesus’ name.


    May God bless all of you and bring you back safely to this house of worship tomorrow morning, when we will gather together at 9:30 a.m. for our Christmas Day worship service, the high-point in  our celebration of Christ’s birth.   Tomorrow morning we will listen to the story – and the significance – of Christ’s birth for us.    Please continue the celebration with us!