Christmas Eve                                            December 24, 2021

Prayer at the Close of Day on Christmas Eve

Opening 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.


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.


Oh, come, let us adore him, Oh, come, let us adore him,

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


3  Sing, choirs of angels, Sing in exultation;

Sing, all ye citizens of heav’n above.

Glory to God, all Glory in the highest.


Oh, come, let us adore him, Oh, come, let us adore him,

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


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.


Oh, come, let us adore him, Oh, come, let us adore him,

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


Text: John F. Wade, c. 1711-86; tr. Frederick Oakeley, 1802-80, alt.


P: The Lord Almighty grant us a quiet night and peace at the last.

C: (sing) Amen.

P: It is good to give thanks to the Lord,

C: (sing) To sing praise to your name, O Most High;

P: To herald your love in the morning,

C: (sing) Your truth at the close of day.

P: Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

C: (sing) Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.



P: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.

C: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.


P: Those who dwelt in the land of deep darkness, on them light has shined.

C: We have seen the glory of the Christ, the glory of the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.


P: For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given.

C: In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

The presiding minister sings:

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:


“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.


The Congregation sings:


Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child, Prepare a bed, soft, undefiled

Within my heart, made clean and new, A quiet chamber kept for you.


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.


Text: Martin Luther, 1483-1546; tr. Catherine Winkworth, 1827-78, alt.


P:      The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.

C:      And also with you.


P:      Let us pray:

Almighty God, you made this holy night shine with the brightness of the true light. Grant that as we have known on earth the wonder of that light, we may also behold him in all his glory in the life to come; through your only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C:      Amen. (spoken)


The Story of God's Love at Christmas

God promised the Savior through the pens of the prophets.

Isaiah 9:2, 6-7; Jeremiah 23:1-6; Zechariah 9:9-10; Micah 5:2-5

Isaiah 9:2, 6-7

2The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.

For those living in the land of the shadow of death, the light has dawned.


6For 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.

7There 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.


Jeremiah 23:1-6

Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! declares the Lord.

2Therefore, this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the shepherds who shepherd my people.


You have scattered my flock.

You have driven them away.

You have not taken care of them,

but I will certainly take care of you,

because of the evil things you have done,

declares the Lord.

3I will gather what is left of my flock

     out of all the countries where I have driven them,

and I will bring them back to their pastures.

They will be fruitful and multiply.

4I will raise up shepherds over them

     who will shepherd them.

They will no longer be afraid or terrified,

nor will any be missing, declares the Lord.

5Listen, the days are coming, declares the Lord,

when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch,

who will reign wisely as king

and establish justice and righteousness on earth.

6In his days Judah will be saved

and Israel will dwell securely.

This is his name by which he will be called:

     The Lord Our Righteousness.


Zechariah 9:9-10

9Rejoice greatly, Daughter of Zion!

Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!

Look! Your King is coming to you.

He is righteous and brings salvation.

He is humble and is riding on a donkey,

on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

10I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim

and the horse from Jerusalem.

The battle bow will be taken away,

and he will proclaim peace to the nations.

His kingdom will extend from sea to sea,

from the River to the ends of the earth.


Micah 5:2-5a

2But 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.

3Therefore the LORD will give them up,

until the time when the woman who is in labor bears a child.

Then the remaining survivors from his brothers will return to the people of Israel.

4He will stand and shepherd with the strength of the LORD,

in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.

They will dwell securely, for at that time he will be great to the ends of the earth.

5This one will be their peace.



Hymn 12 Hark the Glad Sound! The Savior Comes

1  Hark the glad sound! The Savior comes,

The Savior promised long;

Let ev’ry heart prepare a throne

And ev’ry voice a song.


2  He comes the captives to release,

In Satan’s prison held.

The gates of brass before him burst;

The iron fetters yield.


3  He comes the broken heart to bind,

The bleeding soul to cure,

And with the treasures of his grace

To enrich the humble poor.


4  Our glad hosannas, Prince of Peace,

Your welcome shall proclaim,

And heav’n’s eternal arches ring

With your beloved name.


Text: Philip Doddridge, 1702-51, abr., alt.

God announced the birth of the Savior in the messages of the angel.

Luke 1:5-17

5In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah. His wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6They were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and righteous decrees of the Lord. 7They did not have a child because Elizabeth was unable to bear children, and they were both well along in years. 8On one occasion, while Zechariah was serving as priest before God and his division was on duty, 9he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10The whole crowd of people were praying outside the temple during the hour of the incense offering.

11An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and overcome by fear. 13But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear a son for you, and you are to name him John. 14You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15because he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to drink wine or beer. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16He will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. 17He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and to turn the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to prepare a people who are ready for the Lord.”


Luke 1:26-38

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

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

34Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

35The 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. 36Listen, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age even though she was called barren, and this is her sixth month. 37For nothing will be impossible for God.”

38Then Mary said, “See, I am the Lord’s servant. May it happen to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.


Hymn 24 vv. 1&2 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!


Matthew 1:18-23

18This 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. 19Joseph, her husband, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her. So he decided to divorce her privately. 20But 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. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

22All 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.”

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


Hymn 34 vv. 1&4 Now Sing We, Now Rejoice

1  Now sing we, now rejoice, Now raise to heav’n our voice;

He from whom joy streameth Poor in a manger lies;

Not so brightly beameth The sun in yonder skies.

Thou my Savior art! Thou my Savior art!


4  Oh, where shall joy be found? Where but on heav’nly ground?

Where the angels singing With all his saints unite,

Sweetest praises bringing In heav’nly joy and light.

Oh, that we were there! Oh, that we were there!


Text: Latin hymn, 14th century; tr. Arthur T. Russell, 1806-74, alt.


When the time was right, God sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.


Luke 2:1-5

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3And everyone went to register, each to his own town. 4And 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. 5He went to be registered with Mary, his wife, who was pledged to him in marriage and was expecting a child.


Hymn 65 vv. 1&3 O Little Town of Bethlehem

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.


3  How silently, how silently The wondrous gift is giv’n!

So God imparts To human hearts The blessings of his heav’n.

No ear may hear his coming, But in this world of sin

Where meek souls will Receive him still, The dear Christ enters in.


Text: Phillips Brooks, 1835-93, abr., alt.


Luke 2:6-7

6And so it was that while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7And 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.


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.


Text: Little Children’s Book, Philadelphia, 1885, st. 1-2; Vineyard Songs, Louisville, 1892, st. 3.


Luke 2:8-14

8There were in the same country shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified! 10But 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: 11Today in the town of David, a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13Suddenly, 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.”


53 vv. 1 & 2 To Shepherds as They Watched by Night

1  To shepherds as they watched by night

Appeared a host of angels bright;

“Behold the tender babe,” they said,

“In yonder lowly manger laid,


2  At Bethlehem, in David’s town,

As Micah did of old make known.

 is the Christ, your Lord and King,

Who will to all salvation bring.


Text: Martin Luther, 1483­-1546; tr. Richard Massie, 1800-87, alt.


Luke 2:15-20

15When 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.” 16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they told others the message they had been told about this child. 18And all who heard it were amazed by what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20And 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.


Hymn 54 vv. 1&2 Where Shepherds Lately Knelt

1  Where shepherds lately knelt and kept the angel’s word,

I come in half-belief, a pilgrim strangely stirred;

But there is room and welcome there for me,

But there is room and welcome there for me.


2  In that unlikely place I find him as they said:

Sweet newborn Babe, how frail! and in a manger bed,

A still, small voice to cry one day for me,

A still, small voice to cry one day for me.


Text: Jaroslav J. Vajda, 1919-2008. © 1987 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved. Used by permission.





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Hymn 707 Peace Came to Earth

1  Peace came to earth at last that chosen night

When angels clove the sky with song and light

And God embodied love and sheathed his might-

Who could but gasp: Immanuel! Who could but sing: Immanuel!


2  And who could be the same for having held

The infant in their arms and later felt

The wounded hands and side, all doubts dispelled-

Who could but sigh: Immanuel! Who could but shout: Immanuel!


  You show the Father none has ever seen,

In flesh and blood you bore our griefs and pain,

In bread and wine you visit us again-

Who could but see: Immanuel! Who could but thrill: Immanuel!


4  How else could I have known you, O my God!

How else could I have loved you, O my God!

How else could I embrace you, O my God!

Who could but pray: Immanuel! Who could but praise: Immanuel!


The picturesque language of this Jaroslav Vajda hymn vividly illustrates the weighty significance of God becoming man in Christ. 


Text: Jaroslav J. Vajda, 1919-2008 © 1984 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved. Used by permission.



P: Hear my prayer, O Lord.

C: (sing) Listen to my cry.

P: Keep me as the apple of your eye.

C: (sing) Hide me in the shadow of your wings.

P: In righteousness I shall see you.

C: (sing) When I awake, your presence will give me joy.


Prayer of the Church


P: As once the night shone with the brightness of the one, true Light, enlighten our hearts this night, that rejoicing in the birth of our Savior we may approach Your throne of grace with courage and confidence, praying on behalf of ourselves and for all people as they have need.

Brief silence

P: Merciful Father, we give You thanks for all of Your mercies new each morning, but most especially do we praise Your goodness for giving to us the gift of Your only Son and for His revelation of Your grace and His mighty acts of deliverance by which we shall be saved. Keep us faithful to Christ, that we may know and delight in His Word.

C: Through the ministry of this Word, bring forth in us good fruit in keeping with Your will and purpose.

P: We pray to You, O Lord, on behalf of Your Church here and throughout the world. Keep her ministers faithful in preaching and teaching the pure doctrine of Your saving Word. Through their ministry, strengthen us in faith toward You and in love toward one another.

C: Raise up those who will bring Your saving Gospel to those who have not heard, that by hearing they may believe and by believing they may rejoice in the incarnation of Your Son and His work to save us from our sins and rescue us from death and the grave.

P: Grant Your blessing, O Lord, to all citizens of this land and those who serve us in Your name, especially the president, the Congress of these United States, the governor of this state, and all judges and magistrates. Grant that they may exercise the authority entrusted to them according to Your divine providence and seek to fulfill Your will and purpose in holding the criminal accountable to justice, keeping us secure against any and all threats and violence, and enabling us to live a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and holiness.

C: Give peace to the nations and preserve those who suffer the threat of persecution and death for Your sake.

P: Be with those who cry to You in any need. Grant to them grace sufficient to preserve them in the day of trouble, and provide for them, according to Your will, healing and comfort for all their needs of body and soul. We pray to You especially on behalf of ___________ and those we name in our hearts.

C: Grant to them strength, that they may not lose heart or grow weary under the strain of affliction but rejoice in Your comfort and peace.

P: As our families gather in this holy season of our Savior’s birth, give to us patience that we may be slow to judge and quick to forgive. Give to the lonely the comfort of Your presence and help us to extend to them the welcome of our homes and the friendship of Your grace. Make us mindful of those less fortunate, who celebrate this blessed feast in poverty and want.

C: Teach us to be generous in the care of those in need and to cheerfully return to You the tithes and offerings of a grateful heart. Accept with these offerings the living sacrifice of our bodies to Your service and our voices in praise and thanksgiving.

P: Bless the places where we gather to be taught the good news of the Savior who comes as God in flesh and guide our hearts so that we may faithfully discern the voice of truth from error.

C: Lead us to know and confess with all joy the good news of our Savior, that those who hear may rejoice with us and with the angels and shepherds who worship Christ, the newborn King.

P: O Lord, gracious and merciful, keep us steadfast amid the temptations of the evil one, that we may walk in Christ and live out our days in holiness and righteousness, doing the good works that testify to Christ and serving our neighbor in love, to the glory of Your holy name. Grant to us the grace of Your Holy Spirit, that we may with godly faith and holy life prepare in this world for the life which is to come.

C: When our last hour comes, prevent us from succumbing to the power of fear, and enable us to rest in Christ all our hope for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Then at last, bring us to the full consummation of all Christ began, to the blest reunion with those who have gone before, and to see You face to face in Your Kingdom without end.

P: All these things we pray You, O Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ, Your own Son, whom You have made known to us in the mystery of the Word made flesh, who has fulfilled all the Law and the prophets and delivered us to You as Your own people through the blood of the everlasting covenant, that we may do what is good and right and pleasing in Your sight.

C: To You be all glory and honor, worship and praise, now and forevermore. Amen.


Lord’s Prayer


C: (sing) Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us; Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever. 


Special Music   A Son Emmanuel


Gospel Canticle

P: Guide us waking, O Lord,

C: (sing) And guard us sleeping:

P: That awake we may watch with Christ,

C: (sing) And asleep we may rest in peace.

C: (sing) In peace, Lord, in peace you let your servant now depart according to your word.  For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for  every people, a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.  In peace, in peace.


Hymn 42 vv. 1,3,5 Come Your Hearts and Voices Raising

1  Come, your hearts and voices raising,

Christ the Lord with gladness praising;

Loudly sing his love amazing,

Worthy folk of Christendom.


2  See how God, for us providing,

Gave his Son and life abiding;

He our weary steps is guiding

From earth’s woe to heav’nly joy.


3  Christ, from heav’n to us descending

And in love our race befriending,

In our need his help extending,

Saved us from the wily foe.


4  Jacob’s Star in all its splendor

Beams with comfort sweet and tender,

Forcing Satan to surrender,

Breaking all the pow’rs of hell.


5  Gracious Child, we pray you, hear us;

From your lowly manger cheer us.

Gently lead us and be near us

Till we join th’ angelic choir.


Text: Paul Gerhardt, 1607-76, abr.; tr. The Lutheran Hymnal, St. Louis, 1941.



P: The almighty and merciful Lord - the Father, the Son,† and the Holy Spirit - bless us and keep us.

C: Amen.


Adult Choir   Peace, Peace
(congregation joins for Silent Night, Hymn 60)

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.


Text: Franz Joseph Mohr, 1792-1848, abr.; tr. John F. Young, 1820-85.


Pastor Schamber, Mr. Scherschel, the Faculty and Staff at Holy Trinity would like to wish you a Blessed Christmas and a Joyous New Year!

 For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not
perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16