Thursday, December 24, 2020

Order of Worship - Christmas Eve, 7:30 pm (pre-service music at 7:15 pm)

 The livestream may be found here. You need not have a Facebook account to watch the livestream.

December 24, 2020, 7:30 p.m.

The Nativity of Our Lord

Christmas Eve

first sight




of earth what he from the straw


in the light of the night star

peeking through the small opening eyes

of the All-seeing

looking by blinks at brightness

through tiny tears and lashes

focusing for the first time

in time

at the limited and incomplete

facing their surprise

and held-breath wonder

including even a curious

awkward lamb

neck on the birth block

unknowing of the single

needed sacrifice

delivered in the blood of the mother

beside Joseph’s watchful

wait for all the old promises

to be seen as there

where he with Mary will hold

and hallow the unseen

now visible

viewing them

with the gaze of grace

from amid scratchy dried grass

trembling in a cold wind’s shiver

breathing the warm breath

of blessing of being

bound with the blind 


The Rev. Harvey S. Mozolak, Pastor Emeritus




 Sarabande from Suite No. 4 in E-flat Major for Unaccompanied Cello

(BWV 1010)

Johann Sebastian Bach

Michael Frontz, Cello


Once Again My Heart Rejoices  

Setting by Donald Busarow


From Three Carol Settings - Peter Crisafulli



Sonata on Joy to the World - Peter A. Ramsey

I.  Prelude

II.  Andante Allegrezza

III.  Pastorale

IV.  Vite







Alleluia! Unto us a child is born.

  Unto us a Son is given! Alleluia!

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,

and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

  And also with you.




In peace, let us pray to the Lord.                                 Lord, have mercy.

For the peace from above,

and for our salvation, let us pray to the Lord.       Lord, have mercy.

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.    Lord, have mercy.

For this holy house,

and for all who offer here their worship and praise,

let us pray to the Lord.                                                   Lord, have mercy.

Help, save, comfort and defend us, gracious Lord.                       Amen




Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.         

(Luke 2:14)

Lord God, heavenly king, almighty God and Father:

                We worship you, we give you thanks,

we praise you for your glory.

                Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,

Lord God, Lamb of God:

                You take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us.

                You are seated at the right hand of the Father;

receive our prayer.

                For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord,

                you alone are the Most High,

                Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit,

in the glory of God the Father. Amen




The Lord be with you.                                                    And also with you.


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 Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.





First Reading                                                                                  Isaiah 9:2–7


2The people who walked in darkness

                have seen a great light;

                those who lived in a land of deep darkness —

                on them light has shined.

  3You 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.

  4For 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.

  5For all the boots of the tramping warriors

                and all the garments rolled in blood

                shall be burned as fuel for the fire.

  6For 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.

 7His 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 Word of the Lord.                                                   Thanks be to God.


The psalm is read responsively between the pastor and the people.


Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad.                                  Psalm 96:11a               


1 Sing to the Lord | a new song;*

                sing to the Lord, all | the whole earth.

2 Sing to the Lord and | bless his name;*

                proclaim the good news of his salvation from | day to day.

3 Declare his glory a- | mong the nations*

                and his wonders a- | mong all peoples.

4 For great is the Lord and greatly | to be praised;*

                he is more to be feared | than all gods.

5 As for all the gods of the nations, they | are but idols;*

                but it is the Lord who | made the heavens.

6 Oh, the majesty and magnificence | of his presence!*

                Oh, the power and the splendor of his | sanctuary!

7 Ascribe to the Lord, you families | of the peoples;*

                ascribe to the Lord hon- | or and power.

8 Ascribe to the Lord the honor | due his name;*

                bring offerings and come in- | to his courts.

9 Worship the Lord in the beau- | ty of holiness;*

                let the whole earth trem- | ble before him.

10 Tell it out among the nations: "The | Lord is king!*

                He has made the world so firm that it cannot be moved;

                he will judge the peo- | ples with equity."

11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;

let the sea thunder and all | that is in it;*

                let the field be joyful and all that | is therein.

12 Then shall all the trees of the wood shout for joy

before the Lord | when he comes,*

                when he comes to | judge the earth.

13 He will judge the | world with righteousness*

                and the peoples | with his truth.


Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad.                            Psalm 96:11a


Second Reading                                                                          Titus 2:11–14

11The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, 12training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly,  13while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.  14He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

The Word of the Lord.

  Thanks be to God.



VERSE                                                                                 Galatians 4:4

Alleluia. When the time had fully come,

  God sent forth his Son. Alleluia.


Gospel                                                                                                    Luke 2:1-20


The Holy Gospel according to St. Luke.

  Glory to you, O Lord.


In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.  2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.  3All went to their own towns to be registered.  4Joseph 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.  5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.  6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.  7And 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.

                 8In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  9Then an angel of the Lord stood before 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 see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:  11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.  12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger."  13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,


14"Glory to God in the highest heaven,

                and on earth peace among those whom he favors!"

15When 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." 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The 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.





HYMN OF THE DAY                                         Angels We Have Heard On High


Please meditate on the text of the hymn as it is played.



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.


2      Shepherds, why this jubilee?

        Why your joyous strains prolong?

        What the gladsome tidings be

        which inspire your heav'nly song?  Refrain


3      Come to Bethlehem and see

        him whose birth the angels sing;

        come, adore on bended knee

        Christ the Lord, the newborn king.  Refrain


Text: French carol; tr. H. F. Hemy, The Crown of Jesus Music, 1864



The pastor and people confess the faith of the Church in the words of the Nicene Creed.


X At the words ‘For us and for our salvation,’ and continuing through ‘and was made man,’

 a solemn bow is appropriate to praise God for the incarnation of our Lord.


With all who welcome the Christ child,

let us confess the faith of the Church.


                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.

                X 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. X

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




In peace, let us pray to the Lord.


Father, in this holy night, your Son our Savior was born in human flesh. Renew your Church as the Body of Christ. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


In this holy night there was no room for your Son in the inn. Protect with your love those who have no home and all who live in poverty. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


In this holy night Mary, in the pain of labor, brought your Son to birth. Hold in your hand all who are in pain or distress. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


In this holy night your Christ came as a light shining in the darkness. Bring comfort to all who suffer in the sadness of our world. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


In this holy night the angels sang, ‘Peace to God’s people on earth.’ Strengthen those who work for peace in our communities and in all the world. Bless the members of our armed forces and all who must work for the health and protection of others tonight. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


In this holy night shepherds in the field heard good tidings of joy. Give us grace to preach the gospel of Christ’s redemption. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


In this holy night strangers found the Holy Family, and saw the baby lying in the manger. Bless our homes and all whom we love. Lord, in your mercy,        

  hear our prayer.


In this holy night heaven is come down to earth, and earth is raised to heaven. Hold in your hand all those who have passed through death in the hope of your coming kingdom. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.

In this holy night, Christians the world over celebrate Christ’s birth. Open our hearts that he may be born in us today. Lord, in your mercy,       

  hear our prayer.


Gracious Father, we lift these prayers before you through our Lord, Jesus Christ; who came to Mary’s womb; who was born into the world in Bethlehem; and who will be revealed in glory for the salvation of your people, who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.




Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given,

and his name shall be called the Prince of Peace.                                Isaiah 9:6

The peace of the Lord be with you always. 

  And also with you. 


The people exchange a sign of peace with the simple words, Peace be with you.



The Lord’s Table is prepared.




Word made flesh, life of the world,

by your incarnation you embraced our poverty:

by your spirit make us share in your riches.




The Great Thanksgiving begins with the Preface, leading into the Sanctus:


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 him thanks and praise.


It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times

and in all places offer thanks and praise to you,

O Lord, holy Father, almighty and ever-living God.

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 the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven,

we praise your name and join their unending hymn:


Holy, holy, holy LORD, God of power and might!

Heaven and earth are full of your glory;

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!

Hosanna in the highest!                                                    (Isaiah 6:3, Matthew 21:9)


The pastor leads the people in praying the Eucharistic canon:


Glory to you, Lord God, heavenly King;

In the beginning you created the world

through him who is the Word-made-flesh.


In remembering your promises to Israel,

that from the root of Jesse

                a new shepherd would come,

                at the appointed time

                the archangel Gabriel visited the blessed virgin Mary,

                and by the Spirit’s power your Son was conceived.


Born in humble surroundings,

                our Lord Jesus became Emmanuel,

                God with us, God born for us

                God in the midst of us.


Thus we praise you for your goodness

                and laud your magnificent love,

                a love which would lead this child

                to become the man-for-others,

                the One who takes away all fears, doubts, and helplessness;

                the One who, in love, bore the holy cross.:


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 for the 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.


We join our voices with the angels and all the heavenly choir:

  Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth!


Glory to you, Lord God, heavenly King:

                in this holy Child all lives are renewed,

                and all sins forgiven by His Life and holy Passion,

                His resurrection and exaltation at your right hand.


By that same Spirit which gave our Lord life as an infant,

                empowered His ministry of words and miracles,

                and raised Him at his resurrection,

                bless now this Bread of Heaven

                and sanctify this Cup of Blessing,

                that as we eat and drink of our Lord’s body and blood

                we may be filled with your forgiving love,

                and the promise of new life through this holy Child.


Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

all honor and glory is yours, almighty Father, now and forever. Amen


The One who was born in Bethlehem is now here in our midst.

By the power of his Spirit, we pray to his Father, saying:


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


We break the bread of life,

and that life is the light of the world.

  God here among us,

  light in the midst of us,

  bring us to light and life.


We adore Christ with the words of the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God).


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.                                                    John 1:29, see also Luke 17:13




Please meditate on the text of the hymns as they are played.

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.


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!


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.


4     O holy child of Bethlehem,

        descend to us, we pray;

        cast out our sin, and enter in,

        be born in us today.

        We hear the Christmas angels

        the great glad tidings tell;

        oh, come to us, abide with us,

        our Lord Immanuel!


Text: Phillips Brooks, 1835-1893


Silent Night, Holy Night!


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 your holy face,

        with the dawn of redeeming grace,

        Jesus, Lord, at your birth,

        Jesus, Lord, at your birth.


Text: Joseph Mohr, 1792-1849; tr. John F. Young, 1820-1885



Away in a Manger


1              Away in a manger, no crib for his 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.


2              The cattle are lowing; the poor baby wakes,

                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.


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.


Text: North American, anonymous, 19th cent.


When all have received, the congregation stands at the direction of the pastor.


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


Lord, now you let your servant go in peace;

your word has been fulfilled.

My own eyes have seen the salvation

which you have prepared in the sight of every people:

A light to reveal you to the nations

and the glory of your people Israel.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son,

and to the Holy Spirit;

as it was in the beginning, is now,

and will be forever. Amen                         

             Song of Simeon (Luke 2:29-32)



God our Father,

in this night you have made known to us again

the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

confirm our faith and fix our eyes on him

until the day dawns and Christ the morning star

rises in our hearts; for he lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit, one God: now and forever.




Let us bless the living God:


He was born of the Virgin Mary,

  revealed in his glory,


worshiped by the angels,

  proclaimed among the nations,


believed in throughout the world,

  exalted to the highest heavens.


Almighty God, Father, X Son and Holy Spirit,

bless you now and forever.




Go in peace. Serve the Lord.          

Thanks be to God!


CLOSING MUSIC                                                                     Joy to the World!


Angels Shelter Mary and Jesus, India, 1665



From Sundays and Copyright 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #20540.

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.

Common Worship: Times and Seasons, material from which is included in this

service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, 2006.

Eucharistic Canon reprinted by permission from A Little Book of Canons by Rod L. Ronneberg, STS, c. 1997 and c. 2010.


Nativity with Singing Angels, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved December 9, 2020]. Original source:

Angels Attend Mary and Jesus, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved December 18, 2020]. Original source:





The Rev. Maurice C. Frontz, III 

(412) 279-5868 Office

(570) 447-8758 Cell


Pastor Emeritus

The Rev. Harvey S. Mozolak


Organist/Choir Director           

Joyce Moon Strobel, AAGO

(412) 366-0074  Home   


Office Manager

Carrie Hoffman

(412) 279-5868 Office



Mr. Robert Dawe



Mr. Robert Shekerko










St Stephen Lutheran Church

55 Forsythe Road

Pittsburgh PA 15220

(412) 279-5868


Saturday Evening Worship – 6:30 pm

Sunday Morning Worship – 10:30 am

Christmas Day Worship- December 25, 10:30 am