St. Matthew Lutheran Church
3620 Red Rose Farm Road
Baltimore, MD 21220
Pastor John Kulczycki
December 24, 2017
St. Matthew Lutheran Church
3620 Red Rose Farm Road
Sunday, December 24, 2017
The Nativity of Our Lord
Welcome to our Christmas Candlelight Service of 2017. We hope that you will be blessed by your participation. May the light that made this night so bright lighten your heart during this whole Christmas Season.
*Congregation Please Stand
ELW - Evangelical Lutheran Worship Book
Prelude “Greensleeves” (arr. Richard I. Purvis) &
“The First Noel” (arr. Dan Miller) Mark Hurley, Organist
Welcome & Announcements
*Gathering Carol “Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful” ELW # 283 (verses 1-4)
(Verse 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:
(Refrain): O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord!
(Verse 2): The highest, most holy, light of light eternal, born of a virgin, a mortal he comes; Son of the Father now in flesh appearing! (refrain)
(Verse 3): Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation, sing, all ye citizens of heaven above! Glory to God in the highest: (refrain)
(Verse 4): Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning; Jesus, to thee be glory given! Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing; (refrain)
*Confession and Forgiveness (at Altar)
Reader: Almighty and compassionate God, we regret that we have not lived graceful lives in response to your gracious gift!
Congregation: We have not renounced our godless ways, forsaken our worldly values or lived our lives in temperance, honesty and righteousness. Forgive us we pray.
Reader: In mercy and loving kindness God forgives us all our sins for the sake of Jesus, who delights to call us sisters and brothers.
*Greeting ELW pg. 138
Pastor: The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Congregation: And also with you.
*Kyrie ELW pg. 138-139
Worship Assistant: In peace, let us pray to the Lord.
Congregation: Lord, have mercy.
Worship Assistant: For the peace from above, and for our salvation, let us pray to the Lord.
Congregation: Lord, have mercy.
Worship Assistant: For the peace of the whole world, for the well-being of the Church of God, and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.
Congregation: Lord, have mercy.
Worship Assistant: For this holy house, and for all who offer here their worship and praise, let us pray to the Lord.
Congregation: Lord, have mercy.
Worship Assistant: Help, save, comfort, and defend us gracious Lord.
Hymn of Praise “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” ELW # 270 (verse 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 angelic hosts proclaim, "Christ is born in Bethlehem!" Hark! The herald angels sing, "Glory to the newborn king!"
*Prayer of the Day
Pastor: Let us pray....O God, you have made this most holy night to shine with the brightness of the true Light, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Grant that as we have known on earth the mysteries of that Light, we may also come to the fullness of his joys in heaven; through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Anthem “O Holy Night” Adult Choir
First Reading (Worship Assistant) Isaiah 7:10-14
The Word of the Lord came to King Ahaz, encouraging him to be bold and to ask for a sign from the Lord. Ahaz, in his stubbornness, refused to ask God for a sign, claiming that would be “putting God to the test.” Ahaz discounted the reassurance that the Lord was offering him and continued deeper in his sin by rejecting God’s offer of a sign. That sign was nothing less than Immanuel, the son of the virgin.
10Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz: 11“Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” 12But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” 13And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? 14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” The word of the Lord, thanks be to God.
Psalm (Worship Assistant) Psalm # 110
In this psalm we hear the promise of God to bless the kingly line of David. As Christians, we hear it as the union of king and priest in the person of Jesus Christ. Not only was Jesus a descendant of King David, he was also David’s Lord and was anticipated by David.
The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”
The Lord will send the scepter of your power out of Zion, saying, “Rule over your enemies round about you.
Princely state has been yours from the day of your birth; in the beauty of holiness have I begotten you, like dew from the womb of the morning.”
The Lord has sworn and he will not recant: “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”
Second Reading (Worship Assistant) 1 John 4:7-16
St. John makes it clear that we love only because God has loved us first. God sent Jesus to be the Savior of our lives and the one who grants us forgiveness. The love of God can only be known through his love flowing through the lives of his children.
7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.13By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. Word of God, word of life, thanks be to God.
(Worship Assistant: “Please rise for the reading of the Gospel.”)
Gospel Acclamation “The First Noel” ELW # 300 (verse 1)
The First Noel 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. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel! Born is the King of Israel.
*The Holy Gospel: (Pastor) The Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew, the 1st Chapter. Glory to you, O Lord. Matthew 1:18-25: As Joseph was wrestling with what to do about the situation concerning his pregnant fiancé, an angel of the Lord was sent to him in a dream. The angel explained how the child Mary was carrying was the Son of the Most High God, and Joseph was to care for them and name the child “Jesus,” which means “He saves.”
18Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 24When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. The gospel of the Lord, praise to you, O Christ.
*Hymn of the Day “Away In A Manger” ELW # 278
(Verse 1): Away in a 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.
(Verse 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 cradle till morning is nigh.
(Verse 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 fit us for heaven, to live with you there.
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
*The Prayers of Intercession
(P): Let us pray for the faithfulness of the Church, the life of the world, and all those in need. (A brief silence.)
(W): Wonderful Counselor, as your church gathers on this holy night, increase our joy in your Son who has come among us. Let your saving Word ring out in our songs, our worship, our words, and our lives. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
(W): Mighty God, through your Son’s humble birth the yoke of sin that weighs us down has been crushed. Bring comfort, consolation, and strength to those who carry heavy burdens of grief, illness, fear, or pain. By the light of your Christ, pierce the darkness that enshrouds them so that they might know that surpassing peace that comes only from you. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
(W): Everlasting Father, you made your home among us and call us your own children. Be present with those families who cannot physically be together to celebrate the joy of your Son’s birth. Let their love span the distance between them just as your love for us spans time and place. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
(W): Prince of Peace, may the world know your peace in the depths of every human heart. Grant a respite in the violence that plagues the land of your Son’s birth as well as the places on earth where violence and war wreak havoc on human life. Quell the doubts and fears in every restless heart. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
(P): Into your hands, almighty God, we commend all for whom we pray; trusting in your abundant mercy, through Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.
*Sharing of the Peace ELW pg. 143
Pastor: The peace of the Lord be with you always.
Congregation: And also with you.
Offering Anthem “A Christmas Madriga” Adult Choir
*Offertory Carol “Love Has Come” ELW # 292 (verse 1)
Love has come a light in the darkness! Love shines forth in the Bethlehem skies. See, all heaven has come to proclaim it; hear how their song of joy arises: Love! Love! Born unto you, a Savior! Love! Love! Glory to God on high.
*Offertory Prayer ELW pg. 129
Worship Assistant: Let us pray…Blessed are you, O God, maker of all things. Through your goodness you have blessed us with these gifts: ourselves, our time, and our possessions. Use us, and what we have gathered, in feeding the world with your love, through the one who gave himself for us, Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.
*The Great Thanksgiving: ELW pg. 144
Pastor: The Lord be with you.
Congregation: And also with you.
Pastor: Lift up your hearts.
Congregation: We lift them to the Lord.
Pastor: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
Congregation: It is right to give him thanks and praise.
*Christmas Preface Pastor John
It is indeed right, our duty and our joy, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, almighty and merciful God, through our Savior Jesus Christ. In the wonder and mystery of the Word made flesh you have opened the eyes of faith to a new and radiant vision of your glory, that beholding the God made visible, we may be drawn to love the God whom we cannot see. And so, with all the choirs of angels, with the church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn:
Response to the Preface ELW pg. 144
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna. Hosanna. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
*Words of Institution
Pastor: Holy One, the beginning and the end, the giver of life: Blessed are you for the birth of creation. Blessed are you in the darkness and in the light. Blessed are you for your promise to your people. Blessed are you in the prophets' hopes and dreams. Blessed are you for Mary's openness to your will. Blessed are you for your Son Jesus, the Word made flesh.
In the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks; broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.
Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink, saying: This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this for the remembrance of me. Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:
Congregation: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
Pastor: With this bread and cup we remember your Word dwelling among us, full of grace and truth. We remember our new birth in his death and resurrection. We look with hope for his coming.
Congregation: Come, Lord Jesus.
Pastor: Holy God, we long for your Spirit. Come among us. Bless this meal. May your Word take flesh in us. Awaken your people. Fill us with your light. Bring the gift of peace on earth.
Congregation: Come, Holy Spirit.
Pastor: All praise and glory are yours, Holy One of Israel. Word of God incarnate, Power of the Most High, one God, now and forever.
*Lord's Prayer ELW pg. 145
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by 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.
Communion (distribution & song) ELW pg. 146
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; grant us peace. Amen.
“Infant Holy, Infant Lowly” (verses 1 & 2) ELW # 276
(Verse 1): Infant Holy, Infant Lowly, for his bed a cattle stall; oxen lowing, little knowing Christ the child is Lord of all. Swiftly winging, angels singing, bells are ringing, tidings bringing; Christ the child is Lord of all! Christ the child is Lord of all!
(Verse 2): Flocks were sleeping, shepherds keeping vigil till the morning new, saw the glory heard the story, tidings of a gospel true. Thus rejoicing, free from sorrow, praises voicing, greet the morrow; Christ the child was born for you! Christ the child was born for you!
“O Little Town of Bethlehem” (verses 1-3) ELW #279
(Verse 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.
(Verse 2): For Christ is born of Mary, and, gathered all above while mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wond’ring love. O morning stars, together proclaim the holy birth, and praises sing to God the king, and peace to all the earth!
(Verse 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.
(Verse 1): Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o’er the plains, and the mountains in reply, echoing their joyous strains.
(Refrain): Gloria in excelsis Deo; gloria in excelsis Deo.
(Verse 2): Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong? What the gladsome tidings be which inspire your heav’nly song? (Refrain)
(Verse 3): Come to Bethlehem and see him whose birth the angels sing, come, adore on bended knee Christ the Lord, the newborn king. (Refrain)
Pastor: The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen you and keep you in his grace.
*Post Communion Hymn “Good…” ELW # 288, (vs 1)
Good Christian friends rejoice with heart and soul and voice; give ye heed to what we say: Jesus Christ is born today; ox and ass before him bow, and he is in the manger now. Christ is born today! Christ is born today!
*The Ushers will be standing in the center aisle at the end of each pew to light the candles.*
**During the distribution of the light for the candles, we ask that you please be very careful not to tip the lighted candle. To avoid dripping the hot wax on yourself or others. Tip only the unlit candle when lighting your candle from your neighbor. Please watch any children holding lighted candles.
*Candlelight Service “Bring Us Hope” Adult Choir
*Candlelight Carol “Silent Night” ELW # 281
(Verse 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.
(Verse 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!
(Verse 3): Silent night, holy night! Son of God, love’s pure light radiant beams from your holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus, Lord, at your birth, Jesus, Lord, at your birth.
Worship Assistant: Let us Pray...Almighty God, you gave your Son both as a sacrifice for sin and a model of the godly life. Enable us to receive him always with thanksgiving and to conform our lives to his; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Candles are extinguished after the Prayer)
Pastor: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Worship Assistant: Go in peace. Serve the Lord.
Congregation: Thanks be to God.
*Recessional Carol: “Joy to the World” ELW # 267
(Verse 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.
(Verse 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.
(Verse 3): No more let sin and sorrow 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.
(Verse 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.
**Please remain standing until Acolyte has extinguished candles on the Altar and the Organist begins playing the Postlude.**
Postlude: Hallelujah Chorus (Handel) Mark Hurley, Organist
2017 Offering Envelopes: Please have all 2017 offering envelopes in by Sunday, January 14, 2018. Thank you for your continued support of our church and its many ministries!
2018 Church Offering Envelopes: All envelopes will be available in the Fellowship Hall for pick up on December 24th. If your name is not there and you want envelopes please fill out the “Envelope Request’ form or contact the Church Office. If you are unable to pick up your envelopes, please let us know and arrangements will be made to deliver them to you. Please remember to use your initial offering envelope for $3.00. This helps the church defray the cost of the envelopes. On your weekly envelope, please be sure to neatly fill in the enclosed amount on the outside of the envelope. If you want your offering recorded on a statement, you must use your envelope. Loose checks are recorded under loose plate. We will be sending statements two times a year. Once at approximately July 15th, and the second around January 15th.
A special "Thank You" to everyone who helped in preparing for our Christmas Eve Candlelight Services.
Everyone is invited to a Christmas Eve Fellowship in the Fellowship Hall between Services.
Members and Friends who ordered Poinsettias may pick up the flowers after the 11PM Service tonight. Please remember to check your name off the list. Plastic sleeves for carrying the Poinsettias are available in the closet in the Narthex.
A Blessed Christmas And Happy New Year To All!
From Pastor John, His Family, & The Church Staff!
Helping with Worship Today:
8:30PM – Kathy Frith 11PM – Marlys Hettinger
8:30PM – Tim Kellogg 11PM – open
8:30PM: Joe Hauer, Jeff Hoilman & Tommy Hanlin
11PM: Joe Collier, Lee & Maria Dobry, & Dick Ortt
Sunday School/Confirmation Class: On Sundays, December 24th and 31st, we will NOT be having Sunday School or Confirmation classes. The Streets of Hope men will be housed at St. Matthew from 12/23 - 1/7, and using some of the classrooms for their personal belongings and for sleeping. Also, if the temperature is too cold, they remain at the church instead of leaving from 7am - 6pm. Our students and families are encouraged to come to morning worship on both Sundays at 8:30 or 11 am., and one of the Christmas Eve worship services (6:30, 8:30, or 11pm).
Clothing Drive to benefit the Youth Group will be held from today until Sunday, February 11th. Proceeds from the clothing drive will go toward the ski trip. Please bring in all your gently used clothing, linens, towels and small housewares for donations! Please see Vicki Borreson for the full list of items eligible for donation. Thank you for your continued support of our Youth Group!
Hoagie Sale begins in January! Please watch for order forms and details for this year’s Hoagie Sale!
Souper Bowl of Caring: The youth will host this yearly event to collect funds and non-perishable food items for the church's food pantry. More will be in January bulletins. Final collection is Sunday, February 4th.
Intentional Sisterhood Waterlilyz “It’s a Sister Thing” Event this year will be held on Saturday, February 24th from 9am to 4pm @ Redeemer Lutheran Church in Damascus, MD. For registration, please see Irene Markley.
Save the Date: Women’s Prayer Brunch is scheduled for Saturday, April 28th from 11am to 2pm. Stay tuned for details!
Hershey Bears Annual Hockey Game has been scheduled for Saturday, February 3rd at 7pm. The Bears will play the Charlotte Checkers. It is Faith & Family night and our tickets are in section 110 (yes, we are back to the lower level). The tickets are $20.50 per person and the first 5,000 in attendance will receive a free Bears baseball cap. Please contact Joe Hauer at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your tickets or for additional information.
Listening for the Promise
December 24, 2017 — Nativity of Our Lord
“Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” (Isaiah 7:10)
What would you do if God offered you a chance to ask for a sign from him? In the midst of testing, we sometimes pray for a sign so we will know that God is actually listening and seeing what we are going through. But to have God insist upon a person to ask for a sign is something altogether different. Would you ask for an answer to the “Why?” of some tragedy? Would you inquire about your future job opportunities? Would you desire a sign that would point clearly to God’s will for your life? The possibilities are endless but fun to think about!
God told King Ahaz, who was a sin-wracked fellow just like you and me, to ask for a sign. But in his stubbornness, Ahaz refused. Sounds like an interaction between a parent and a strong-willed 3-year-old. “Ask me for a sign, Ahaz,” God said.
“No, I won’t do it!” said the king.
His reasoning? He said he didn’t want to put the Lord God to the test. Imagine God’s response to that, “Oh, so now you don’t want to put me to the test?” In the face of imminent threats from nearby enemies, Ahaz continued to be rebellious toward the Lord. His “no” was not a pious response. It was an act of defiance! Like a young child who wanted to do everything his way rather than take sage parental advice, Ahaz rejected God’s gracious offer for a sign that would strengthen his faith and trust in the Almighty.
Even though Ahaz said no, the Lord still provided a sign for humanity. That sign was not wise advice, a map for battle, or the answers to all of life’s intricate questions. It was Immanuel: God with us! God in the flesh, born of Mary, is the sign of God’s never-failing love and promise to his people that no matter what is going on in our lives, he is with us always. We can put our complete trust in Creator and Lord of life because through Christ, he has made a way out of sin and death for those he loves.
Next time you need a sign from God, turn to the nativity story in Luke or Matthew and remember the Good News: God is with us! Amen.