The Nativity of Our Lord

December 24, 2020
4:00 & 8:00 p.m.

Holy Spirit Lutheran Church
Lancaster, PA

Welcome to our celebration of the birth of Jesus, the Christ, the Mighty Counselor, the Prince of Peace! You are invited to join in this celebration, not of a baby being born, but the truth that this child born on Christmas, is God. We worship with people across the world in celebrating that God chose our humble human form to come to earth, to fulfill the prophets dreams and the world’s need for salvation and peace. By God’s grace we are saved by the one born in Bethlehem. Tonight we worship this great act of love by God for all the world.

As you enter the nave, please conclude conversations and silence all cell phones and other electronic devices in order to fully enter into the experience of worship.

The Prelude

The assembly stands

The Proclamation of the Birth of Christ

The Apostolic Greeting and the Prayer of the Day

The grace of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Word made flesh, born of Mary, be with you all.
And also with you.

Let us pray. Almighty God, you made this holy night shine with the brightness of the true Light. Grant that here on earth we may walk in the light of Jesus’ presence and in the last day wake to the brightness of his glory; through your only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Please be seated.

First Reading

Isaiah 9:2-7
A reading from Isaiah: 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 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.

The Holy Gospel

Luke 2:1-20
The Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke, the second chapter.
Glory to you, O Lord

In those days a decree went out from Emperor 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 for them in the inn.

In that 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. 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: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and 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 heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

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.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.

The Homily

The Christmas Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, who sent his son to be my Savior.

And I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, my Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, announced by the angels, worshipped by the shepherds, adored by the wise Men, who lived to suffer, die and rise again, to free me from all sin, from death, and from the power of the devil.

I believe in the Holy Spirit who has brought me to faith in my Savior, and by whose continuous work in my life gives me cause to rejoice in my salvation, show forth his praises, and will, one day, live together with him in eternity.


The Prayers of the Church

Rejoicing with all the faithful, let us pray for the church, the world, and all who are in need.

After each portion of the prayers:
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

The prayers conclude:
Into your hands, Gracious God, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Savior.

The Peace

The peace of Christ be with you always.
And also with you.

Without leaving your seat offer a wave to your neighbor, sharing God’s peace, in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Please be seated.


The Offering is received as the Lord’s table is prepared.

Offertory Prayer

Let us pray. Eternal God,
we rejoice in the birth of Jesus, who came among the poor to bring the riches of your grace. As you have blessed us with your gifts, let them be blessings for others. With the trees of the field, with all earth and heaven, we shout for joy at the coming of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Eucharistic Prayer

In these latter days, God leaned toward the earth and spoke to us by his Son, Jesus the Beloved.
Born of our sister Mary and the Holy Spirit,
guarded by our brother Joseph with fatherly care,
Jesus came among us as a helpless baby,
cradled beside the beasts and warmed by their breath –
human, as we are, in need of human love.

This Word of God was made flesh and dwelt among us, And his flesh and blood were given to us, in his final gift of grace.
At supper with his friends, the disciples,
he took bread and offered you thanks.
He broke the bread, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Take, eat. This is my Body: it is broken for you.’
Do this in remembrance of me.

After supper, he took the cup,
he offered you thanks, and gave it to them saying:
‘Drink this, all of you. This is my Blood of the new covenant;
it is poured out for you, and for all,
that sins may be forgiven. Do this in remembrance of me.’

In obedience to your Son’s command.
We recall his blessed passion and death,
his glorious resurrection and ascension;
and we look for the coming of his Kingdom.
Made one with him, we offer you these gifts
and with them ourselves,
a single, holy, living sacrifice.

Hear us, most merciful God,
and send your Holy Spirit upon us
and upon this bread and this wine,
that, overshadowed by his life-giving power,
they may be the Body and Blood of your Son,
and we may be kindled with the fire of your love
and renewed for the service of your Kingdom.

Through the fellowship of Christ’s Body,
have us live and work to your praise and glory;
growing together in unity and love
until at last, in your new creation,
we enter into our heritage,
in the company of the Virgin Mary,
the apostles and prophets,
and of all our brothers and sisters
living and departed.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory be to you, world without end.


The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be 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.

The Fraction

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have beheld His glory, glory as of the only Son of the Father.

The Distribution of Holy Communion

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America practices open table hospitality. Baptized communicants of other Christian denominations, of all ages, are welcome to receive the sacrament. An usher will direct each seating area to come forward to receive the sacrament. Bring your communion cup with you, or take one from the usher. The pastor will drop the host into your hand. Next move to receive the wine from the Assisting Minister. Then take another step to consume the sacrament. As you return to your seat, place the empty cup into the receptacle. Those persons not receiving communion are welcome to come forward to receive a blessing.

Please stand.

Post Communion Blessing

The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen you and keep you in his grace.

Post Communion Prayer

Let us pray. Great and saving God, you have gathered your scattered people around gifts of bread and wine, the body and blood of our Savior Christ. As we, like the shepherds, return on our way, may we proclaim all we have heard and seen, praising you in word and loving deed for the gift of Jesus, our Savior and Lord.

Lighting of the Candles

While music is played, the congregation will move into the narthex. Light your candle from an usher or assisting minister and then continue outside, with your lighted candle, and gather (properly distanced) under the portico.

The Blessing

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord’s face shine on you with grace and mercy. The Lord look upon you with favor, and give you peace. In the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit.


“Silent Night, Holy Night”

The Dismissal

Filled with the joy of Christ’s birth, go in peace. Serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God. We will!

The candles are extinguished. After the candle wax has hardened, place your candle in the basket provided.


Thank You

Many thanks to those who came at different socially distanced times for preparing the nave and narthex for the Christmas season:

Sayre Turney, Allison Carlson, Linda and Bob Slade,
Diana and Don Eckert, Cheryl Amey.

The Slutter family who set up and decorated the Christmas tree.

Jim LaPorte & Don Eckert for creating the
new and more stable, stable for the Holy Family.


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New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Revised Common Lectionary, Copyright © 1992 Consultation on Common Texts, admin Augsburg Fortress. Used by permission.