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A Service of Lessons and Carols

Sunday, December 25, 2022
Christmas Day

Opening Sentences

Christ is born; give him glory!
Christ has come down from heaven; receive him!

Christ is now on earth; exalt him!

O you earth, sing to the Lord!
O you nations, praise him in joy,
for he has been glorified!

Carol 133 “O Come All Ye Faithful” (v1 & 4)

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!

4 Yea, Lord, we greet thee,
born this happy morning;
Jesus, to thee be all glory given;
Word of the Father,
now in flesh appearing!
O come, let us adore him;
O come, let us adore him;
O come, let us adore him,
Christ, the Lord!


Send, O God, into the darkness of this troubled world, the light of your Son. Let the star of our hope touch the minds of all people with the bright beams of mercy and truth; and so direct our steps that we may ever walk in the way revealed to us, as the shepherds of Bethlehem walked with joy to the manger where he dwelled, who now and ever reigns in our hearts, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Lighting of Advent & Christ Candles
10:00 am Christmas Day

We have watched; we have waited in hope. Light the first candle.
for peace. Light the second candle.
in joy! Light the third (pink, if used) candle.
with love. Light the fourth candle.
Now our redemption draws near! The Christ candle (the center white candle) is lit.

Hear the Word of the Lord from Isaiah 9:2-7

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness — on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder.  For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.

For a child has been born for us, a son is given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it  with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. Glory to God in the highest! Alleluia! Amen!

Carol 119 “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” (v1 & 2)

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 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 in flesh with us to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn king!”

Lesson Isaiah 11:1–4a, 6
A little child will lead them

11 A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow[a] out of his roots.
2 The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
3 His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see
or decide by what his ears hear,
4 but with righteousness he shall judge for the poor
and decide with equity for the oppressed of the earth;

6 The wolf shall live with the lamb;
the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
the calf and the lion will feed[a] together,
and a little child shall lead them.

Carol 146 “Gentle Mary Laid Her Child” (v1 & 2)

1 Gentle Mary laid her child
lowly in a manger;
there he lay, the undefiled,
to the world a stranger.
Such a babe in such a place,
can he be the Savior?
Ask the saved of all the race
who have found his favor.

2 Angels sang about his birth;
wise men sought and found him;
heaven’s star shone brightly forth,
glory all around him.
Shepherds saw the wondrous sight,
heard the angels singing;
all the plains were lit that night;
all the hills were ringing.

Lesson Luke 1:26–31
An angel appears to Mary

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.”[a] 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.

Carol 113 “Angels, We Have Heard on High” (v1 & 3)

1 Angels we have heard on high,
sweetly singing o’er the plains,
and the mountains in reply
echoing their joyous strains.
Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Gloria in excelsis Deo!

3 Come to Bethlehem and see
him whose birth the angels sing;
come, adore on bended knee
Christ, the Lord, the newborn King.
Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Gloria in excelsis Deo! 

Lesson Matthew 1:18–23
An angel appears to Joseph

18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah[a] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to divorce 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 become pregnant and give birth to a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”

Carol 121 “O Little Town of Bethlehem” (v1 & 2)

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

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

Lesson Luke 2:1–7
Mary gives birth in Bethlehem

In those days a decree went out from Caesar 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 in the guest room.[a]

Carol 145 “What Child Is This” (v2 & 3)

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!

3 So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh;
come, one and all, 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!           

Lesson Luke 2:8-14
Angels announce the Messiah

Now in that same 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,[a] 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,[b] praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

Carol 147 “The First Nowell” (v1 & 2)

1 The first Nowell the angel did say
was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay,
in fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
on a cold winter’s night that was so deep.

Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Nowell,
born is the King of Israel.

2 They looked up and saw a star
shining in the east beyond them far;
and to the earth it gave great light,
and so it continued both day and night. (Refrain)

Lesson Luke 2:15-16
Shepherds go to see the child

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.

Carol 136 “Go, Tell It on the Mountain” (v1 & 3)

Go, tell it on the mountain,
over the hills and everywhere;
go, tell it on the mountain
that Jesus Christ is born!

1 While shepherds kept their watching
o’er silent flocks by night,
behold, throughout the heavens
there shone a holy light. (Refrain)

3 Down in a lowly manger
the humble Christ was born,
and God sent us salvation
that blessed Christmas morn. (Refrain) 

Lesson Matthew 2:1-3, 7-11
Magi come from the East

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star in the east[b] and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him,

Then Herod secretly called for the magi[e] 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 in the east,[f] until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw that the star had stopped,[g] 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.

Carol 151 “We Three Kings” (v1 & 5)

1 We three kings of Orient are;
bearing gifts we traverse afar,
field and fountain, moor and mountain,
following yonder star.

O star of wonder, star of night,
star with royal beauty bright,
westward leading, still proceeding,
guide us to thy perfect light!

5 Glorious now behold him arise,
King and God and Sacrifice:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
sounds through the earth and skies. (Refrain)

Lesson John 1:1-5, 14
And the Word became flesh

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,[a] and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it.

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,[a] full of grace and truth.

Carol 122 “Silent Night, Holy Night” (v1 & 4)

Silent night, holy night!  All is calm, all is bright,
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child! Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace. 

Silent night, holy night! Wondrous star, lend they light;
With the angels let us sing, Alleluia to our King
Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born.


How many of us have ever seen a neon sign hung outside a storefront church? Two words formed a glowing red cross: JESUS SAVES.

“Savior” may well be the most common term that Christians use to describe Jesus. This is especially true in Western Christianity, and Protestant churches in particular, where the emphasis on Jesus as the One who saves us from sin and death is a primary focus of both preaching and piety. Whether one prays before a crucifix, recites vows of baptism and Confirmation, goes forward for an altar call, or falls to the floor with ecstatic utterance, “Jesus saves” is understood as the central and continued meaning of his work for both individual Christians and the life of the world.

Yet, oddly enough, “Savior” appears only twice in the gospels to describe Jesus. One is at the beginning of the gospel of Luke, and the other is in John 4:42, where neighbors of a Samaritan woman proclaim, “Indeed, this is the Savior of the world.” Other titles, like “teacher” and “rabbi,” appear far more frequently. Additional theological titles, like “Christ” (“anointed one”) and “Lord,” are also more prevalent in the gospels. If, however, you ask random Christians who Jesus is, I am willing to bet the answer “Jesus is my Savior” would be high on the list, and perhaps the top reply.  Although the neon cross might grab our attention, “Savior” is not a typical vocabulary word in the world today.

My first recollection of hearing Jesus called “Savior” and that word getting my attention comes from a much more mundane source—”A Charlie Brown Christmas,” the classic holiday cartoon, first aired on television in 1965. I can remember turning on the old black and white Zenith TV in our basement in West Virgina and watching poor Charlie Brown! No one remembered the true meaning of Christmas. He was so depressed! At the climax of the show, he cried out in frustration, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”

His friend Linus stepped on stage and recited verses from Luke 2: “And the angel said unto them, Fear not . . . for unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior which is Christ the Lord.”

Linus from Charlie Brown


I can remember looking over to the manger scene, that was set up in the basement. Mary, in her blue cloak, was on her knees leaning reverently toward her infant son, who was lying in a cradle of straw. Baby Jesus the Savior?

My family did not talk this way, quoting scripture like that. People at my church would have shied away from expressing such religious sentiment in prime time—these words belonged in a pulpit or Sunday school classroom. I had no idea what I needed to be saved from and no clue what it meant, but it was a mysterious-sounding word, mesmerizing even. I liked it—“Savior”—and somehow I sensed what Linus was saying. This was the true meaning of Christmas. Born this day, a Savior. Born to Mary, born into each heart.

To understand at six and to understand when you are older are, of course, two different things, but learning a single word is often an invitation into a deeper faith, to go on a journey with an insight, an idea. At six, “Savior” invited me to wonder, to love Christmas. I still have that awe, wither I hear Linus, the Angels, the Shepherds, or the Disciples.  “…for unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior which is Christ the Lord.”

Based upon Diane Butler Bass’ “Freeing Jesus”


Grace upon grace, God of light that cannot be overcome and life that never ends, we pray this Christmas to welcome the Prince of Peace, not just with “Silent Night,” but with joy, to and for the world. As we come and worship, we also seek to leave and serve. Make us, like Mary, God-bearers, willing to say “yes” to whatever you ask of us. Make us, like the shepherds, eager evangelists filled with praise and wonder. Make us, like Joseph, open to divine plans that are nothing like the ones we had envisioned for ourselves. Make us, like the wise men, ready to give to Christ the best that we have to offer. Use us to proclaim the Word made flesh in ways that make the incarnation evident to all creation. As heaven and nature sing, we sing, too. We raise choruses of alleluia and in Excelsis Deo even though we know all too well that much of the earth groans under the weight of violence, exploitation, and pain. Our refrains of “joy” and “peace” and “glory” are not in denial of all the evil and suffering so ever-present, but clarion calls to wake the weary and rally the righteous. Immanuel is here, dwelling among us. Justice has come to reign. The yokes of the oppressor have been broken. Our burdens have been lifted.

May we hear the heavenly host, follow the star, get up, go, see the Messiah, and witness the God who comes not to condemn but to save. Wonderful counselor, light of the world, Immanuel, we come to worship. As we bow down at your manager, grant us the courage to get up, go back to our daily lives and serve only you. Make us God-bearers, evangelists, disciples, witnesses, children of God, through your grace upon grace and for the sake of your glory.


Hymn No 135 “Joy to the World” (v1,2 & 4)

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

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.


May you be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the determination of the magi, and the peace of the Christ child. Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless you now and forever. Amen.