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Christmas Eve Service
Saturday, December 24, 2016 (5:30 p.m.)
Preservice music with Sarah Tester on flute.
Opening Song By Choir: “Angel Tidings”
Processional Hymn: “Come Hither, Ye Children” (Choir Descant)
♫ 1. Come hither, ye children, O come one and all,
To Bethlehem haste, to the manger so small;
God’s Son for a gift has been sent you this night
To be your Redeemer, your joy and delight.
- He’s born in a stable for you and for me,
Draw near by the bright gleaming starlight to see,
In swaddling clothes lying, so meek and so mild,
And purer than angels—the heavenly Child.
- See Mary and Joseph with love-beaming eyes
Are gazing upon the rude bed where He lies;
The shepherds are kneeling, with hearts full of love,
While angels sing loud hallelujahs above.
- Kneel down and adore Him with shepherds today,
Lift up little hands now and praise Him as they;
Rejoice that a Savior from sin you can boast,
And join in the song of the heavenly host.
THE VOICES OF CHRISTMAS
I. THE VOICE OF GOD
(Matt Radermacher) What is the most familiar sound to you? Is it the singing of birds or the sound of wind? Is it the voice of your parents or children laughing? Is it the sound of your television or smart phone? Tonight we will listen to some voices of Christmas. We’ll listen carefully to the voice of God and His spokesmen. We’ll hear the voices of those at Jesus’ birth. And finally, we’ll learn how our own voices become important in sharing the Christmas message.
“How I want to tell the story That was old when time began,
Of a Babe in perfect glory, born one night in Bethlehem.”
Come with us as we step into the pages of Holy Scripture. Our first voice is the voice of God Himself. God has a very special voice and has spoken to people in many different ways. Listen carefully to God as He speaks to us.
(Levi Seeley) Sometimes God’s voice is very powerful. In the Law He shows us His holiness and glory and His just anger toward man’s sin. At other times, His voice shows the quiet spirit of the Gospel showing His love, His mercy, His forgiveness, His help and encouragement to His children. We need to hear His voice of both Law and Gospel to see both our own sin and our precious Savior.
(Ryan Lang) Isn’t it interesting that the first voice we hear in the Bible is God’s own voice saying, “Let there be light!” Nine times in Genesis 1 we find the words, “And God said.” Not only do we learn of the might and power of God’s creating voice, but in John 1 we also learn that the eternal WORD, God’s Son, would one day come back to be our Savior.
(Joel Kuehne) Yes, there we read: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh.” In the Book of Revelation, Jesus is described as being “dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His Name is the Word of God.” The eternal Word is the very same One whose tiny voice we hear as we gaze into the stable at Bethlehem.
II. THE VOICE OF PROPHECY
(Grade 5 Boys: Owen Gullerud, Vance Havemeier, Evan Kuehne, Logan Krueger, Benjamin Radermacher) God had something important to say to the people of the Old Testament. He wanted them to know that He loved them and would send a Savior from heaven to pay for and take away their sins. And He told them this again and again through the voices of His prophets. Through Moses God said: “The Lord, your God, will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to Him.” Through His prophet Isaiah He said: “The Lord Himself will give you a sign. The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a Son, and you will call His Name Immanuel which means God with us.”
(Grade 5 Girl & Gr.6: Hannah Goodman, Luke Gullerud, Liam Lyons, Alexa Lynner, Noah Thurow) The same prophet also said: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given. And the government shall be upon His shoulders and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” Through the prophet Micah, God said: “But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you are little among the cities of Judah, yet out of you will come One who is to be Ruler in Israel.” Many other prophets echoed that same message of hope that a Messiah Savior would come to deliver His people. Thank God for their prophetic voices.
Song by Children and Choir: “Lullabies for the Christ Child”
III. THE VOICES OF BETHLEHEM
(Grades 3-4 Recite: Lincoln Gullerud, Michael Lang, Chelsea Ludvigson, Hailey Goodman, Megan Gullerud, Ashley Lynner, Lilah Moen, Olivia Olmanson)
Some of the most wonderful voices we hear in the Bible are those spoken at the time of Jesus’ birth, the voices of that first Christmas. Concerning Jesus’ birth Zacharias said: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come and redeemed His people.” The angel Gabriel, said to Mary: “You will be with Child and you shall call His Name Jesus.” Mary herself said:
(Grades 3-8 Recite) And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria). And all went to be taxed, everyone into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem (because he was of the house and lineage of David), to be taxed with Mary, his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first-born Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; And they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not; For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people, For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Choir Song: “Gloria Fanfare”
(Pre-School – Grade 2 Recite: Evan Stangler, Tanner Havemeier, Kaitlyn Krueger, Grace Schierenbeck, Emma Starland, Jack Fitzgerald, Isla Havemeier, Amber Ludvigson, Delaney Stangler, Jack Starland, Sophia Walters, Nolan Aymond, Paige Goodman)
I love the Christmas voices, I love my Father’s Word
In which my heart rejoices, My Savior and my Lord.
I love the Christmas Story, The story of God’s love;
His Son came down from glory To take me home above.
I love the angel’s message A Savior born for me.
All glory in the highest, All praise eternally.
Song By Pre-School – Grade 2– “In A Little Stable”
- In a little stable Far across the sea
Was a little Baby Just like you and me.
- Not a bed or cradle, Not a pillow deep,
But a lowly manger Was His place to sleep.
- Shepherds stood around Him, Angels watched with care,
For this Babe was Jesus, Lying, smiling there.
- Oh, I love this Jesus, Who was little then.
For I know He loves me, Little though I am.
♫ 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 nature sing.
2 Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns! Let men their song employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat the sounding joy,
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 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 of His love.
The Christmas Eve Offering
IV. OUR OWN CHRISTMAS VOICES
“Now my heart will feel no sadness, But instead I must rejoice
And begin to spread the gladness, Even with my one small voice.”
Up to now we’ve heard the voice of God, His prophets and His Christmas messengers. These voices have all proclaimed the truth, the wonder, the blessings and the joy of our Christmas salvation. We’ve set aside this last part of our Christmas Eve service to speak with our own voices.
Each voice is important to God. Young and old, rich and poor, strong voices and weak ones, voices of all languages and people: God wants to hear all their voices praising Him for our Christmas salvation. God wants to hear the Christmas voices of children. In Matthew 21:16, David says: “From the lips of children you have ordained praise, O Lord.” Jesus, during Holy Week, welcomed the voices of the children who were shouting: “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
God also wants to hear the voices of young people. To the Babylonians king, young Daniel replied, “My God has shut the mouths of lions; They have not hurt me.” All of us Christian young people have also been provided for and protected by God in so many different ways, most importantly, from our spiritual enemies. May our hearts and voices praise Him this Christmas and always.
God also wants to hear the voices of our parents and families. We thank God for the voices of all Christian parents who with Joshua of old proclaim, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” We pray that all of us, young and old, follow the example of faithful Anna in the temple, as she used her voice to praise God and tell others about the Holy Child: “She gave thanks to God and spoke to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Israel.”
Just as it takes many individual lights to make a Christmas tree shine, so it takes the voices of all God’s children to praise and spread the Good News of our Christmas Savior. We join the Psalmist this holy night in proclaiming: “Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things; The Lord has made His salvation known, He has remembered His love and faithfulness. Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth!”
Once you’ve heard the Christmas story,
Once you’ve been the Bethlehem way,
Once you’ve met the Prince of glory Born upon that Christmas Day,
You will feel the joy we do, You will know the Promise given
As God’s Spirit rests upon you And you see the hope of heaven.
So let’s join in chorus raising This great strain as we rejoice;
Not just one, but many praising Jesus Christ with one great voice.
The Lord’s Prayer and Benediction
♫ 1 Silent night, holy night! All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.
2 Silent night, holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight;
Glories stream from heaven afar, Heav’nly hosts sing, Alleluia!
Christ, the Savior, is born! Christ, the Savior, is born!
3 Silent night, holy night! Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.
Silent Prayer And Announcements