Friday, December 24, 2021

The Nativity of Our Lord: Christmas Eve, 7:30 pm

 The livestream may be found here.


               Pastorale and Noel-  Richard Peek

    Gentle Mary Laid Her Child

            As it Fell Upon a Night

    Rob Dawe, Clarinet


                Choir                                    ‘Twas in the Moon of Wintertime

Text/ Jean de Brebeuf; tr. Jesse Middleton;

Music/ French folk tune; arr. Robert Hobby


’Twas in the moon of wintertime when all the birds had fled

That God, the Lord of all the earth, sent angel choirs instead.

Before their light the stars grew dim,

and wond’ring hunters heard the hymn:

Jesus your king is born! Jesus is born! Glory be to God on high!”


The earliest moon of wintertime is not so round and fair

As was the ring of glory around the infant there.

And when the shepherds then drew near the angel voices rang out clear:

Jesus your king is born! Jesus is born! Glory be to God on high!”


O children of the forest free, the angels’ song is true.

The holy child of earth and heav’n is born today for you.

Come, kneel before the radiant boy,

who brings you beauty, peace, and joy.

Jesus your king is born! Jesus is born! Glory be to God on high!’

                                                                                Rob Dawe, Clarinet;

Mary Jane Snyder, Percussion


O Come,  All Ye Faithful

I.                    Randall Sensmeier

II.                  David Cherwien






HYMN                O Come, All Ye Faithful                                             Green LBW 45

         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:



        O come, let us adore him,

        O come, let us adore him,

        O come, let us adore him,

        Christ the Lord!


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


3      Sing, choirs of angels,

        sing in exultation,

        sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!

        Glory to God

        in the highest:  Refrain


4     Yea, Lord, we greet thee,

        born this happy morning;

        Jesus, to thee be glory giv'n!

        Word of the Father,

        now in flesh appearing:  Refrain


Text: attr. John Francis Wade, 1711-1786; tr. Frederick Oakeley, 1802-1880, sts. 1, 3-4; tr. unknown, st. 2




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.




A             In peace, let us pray to the Lord.


C             Lord, have mercy.


A             For the peace from above, and for our salvation, let us pray to the Lord.


C             Lord, have mercy.


A             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.


C             Lord, have mercy.


A             For this holy house, and for all who offer here their worship and praise, let us pray to the Lord.


C             Lord, have mercy.


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


C             Amen 



HYMN OF PRAISE    Angels We Have Heard on High          Green LBW 71                      

 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



P              The Lord 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 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.



Arise! (Hodie Christus Natus est)  [Today Christ is born]

Text/ Mary and Stephen Martin; Music/ Joseph M. Martin


Arise, ye sleepers, awake from the night.

Come and see the Savior’s everlasting light.

The child who in a manger lay

has wakened the dawn to a glorious day!

Hodie Christus natus est.


Arise, ye sleepers, awake from your rest.

Come and see the child who evermore will bless.

Through him the battle of sin will be won.

Awake from the darkness, your Light now has come!

Hodie Christus natus est.





Arise, sleepers awake, this is the day the Christ is born.

Arise, sleepers awake, lift high your praise this glorious morn!


Arise, ye sleepers, awake from the night.

Come and see the Savior’s everlasting light.

The child who in a manger lay

has wakened the dawn to a glorious day!

 Hodie Christus natus est.


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                                          Setting by Robert Wetzler 

Sung by the choir.

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.




Where Shepherds Lately Knelt  Text/ Jaroslav J. Vajda; Music/ Carl Schalk


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.


In that unlikely place I find him as they said:       

Sweet, newborn Babe, and in a manger bed:

A still small Voice to cry one day for me.


How should I not have known Isaiah would be there,

His prophecies fulfilled? With pounding heart, I stare:

A Child, a Son, the Prince of Peace, for me.


Can I, will I forget how Love was born

And burned its way into my heart: unasked, unforced, unearned,

To live and die, and not alone for me.




HYMN OF THE DAY                                                               On Christmas Night 

Stanza 1: Choir

 1      On Christmas night all Christians sing

to hear the news the angels bring.

On Christmas night all Christians sing

to hear the news the angels bring:

news of great joy, news of great mirth,

news of our merciful king's birth.


2      Then why should we on earth be sad,

since our redeemer made us glad?

Then why should we on earth be sad,

since our redeemer made us glad,

when from our sin he set us free,

all for to gain our liberty?


3      When sin departs before his face,

then life and health come in its place.

When sin departs before his face,

then life and health come in its place.

Angels rejoice with us and sing,

all for to see the newborn king.


4     All out of darkness we have light,

which made the angels sing this night.

All out of darkness we have light,

which made the angels sing this night:

"Glory to God in highest heav'n;

peace on earth, and goodwill. Amen."


Text: Luke Wadding, d. 1686, alt.



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.



                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






Rejoicing in the message of the angels, let us pray for the people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs.


Silence is kept.


Father, on this holy night, we celebrate the coming of your Son to our world as Savior and Messiah. Take away our fears, and give us great joy, so that with our lives we may bear witness to your presence. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


The holy angels proclaimed peace on earth to those of good will. Let the peace of Christ reign in our hearts and among us, our neighbors, and among the people of the world. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


We pray that all in authority may know and understand your love, and that in the coming year they may act responsibly for the good of all people. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Give your aid to those who are far away from home and family. Send your angels to spread their wings over all who grieve their losses, and shed your grace on all who suffer any distress of body, mind, or spirit. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Look with kindness upon all whom we name before you aloud upon our lips or in the silence of our hearts.


The people may offer spoken or silent intercessions and thanksgivings.


Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


We give thanks for Mary, the God-bearer; for Joseph her husband; for the animals who witnessed the birth of our Savior; for angels who sang the good news of great joy; for shepherds who delighted to see what had been made known to them, and for all who have rejoiced in the feast of Christ’s Nativity, especially those most dear to us who rest in you. Give us faith to seek the Lord Jesus in the Scriptures; to recognize him in the breaking of the bread, and to serve him in all people, that we may celebrate with your saints when he who once was revealed in humility shines forth in glory. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Gracious Father, we lift these prayers before you in the name of 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.



OFFERTORY  Psalm 2:7                                 Setting by Robert Wetzler

Sung by the choir

The Lord said to me, “You are my son, today I have begotten you.  Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, and the ends of the earth your possession.”




Hear us, O Lord Jesus Christ, from your dwelling place,

from the glorious throne of your kingdom, and come and cleanse us.

  You are seated on high with the Father,

  and you dwell also with us here, although unseen.

By your mighty hand render us worthy to receive in holy communion

your spotless body and your precious blood.




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


P              The Lord be with you.


C             And also with you.


P              Lift up your hearts.


C             We lift them to the Lord.


P              Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.


C             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:

C             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:

Gloria in excelsis Deo! Gloria in excelsis Deo!


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.

   C             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.


AGNUS DEI (Lamb of God)


 C             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




Admission to the Sacrament is by invitation of the Lord, presented through the Church to those who are baptized.


They may receive the Lord’s Body and Blood who are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, who commune in their home churches, and who believe that Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is truly present in, with, and under the forms of bread and wine for the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.


The communicants will be invited forward one family unit at a time. Please do not come forward until the pastor directs you to come forward, do not approach all the way to the table until the pastor has retreated,  and please do not remove your mask until you have reached the table with the elements on it.


 When the pastor says ‘The body of Christ, given for you,’ eat the bread. When the pastor says, ‘The blood of Christ, shed for you,’ drink the wine.  Please take the plate and the glass(es) and place them on the table that is indicated. Please put your mask on before returning to your seat.





                                                O Little Town of Bethlehem  Green LBW 41

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

Cold December Flies Away   Green LBW 53

Choir; Stanza 1

1      Cold December flies away

        at the rose-red splendor.

        April's crowning glory breaks

        while the whole world wonders

        at the holy unseen pow'r

        of the tree which bears the flow'r.

        On the blessed tree

        blooms the reddest flow'r.

        On the tree blooms the rose

        here in love's own garden,

        full and strong in glory.


2      In the hopeless time of sin

        shadows deep had fallen.

        All the world lay under death.

        Eyes were closed in sleeping.

        But, when all seemed lost in night,

        came the sun whose golden light

        brings unending joy,

        brings the endless joy

        of our hope, highest hope,

        of our hope's bright dawning,

        Son belov'd of heaven.


3      Now the bud has come to bloom,

        and the world awakens.

        In the lily's purest flow'r

        dwells a wondrous fragrance.

        And it spreads to all the earth

        from the moment of its birth;

        and its beauty lives.

        In the flow'r it lives,

        in the flow'r, and it spreads

        in its heav'nly brightness

        sweet perfume delightful.


Text: Catalonian carol; tr. Howard Hawhee, b. 1953

Text © 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship, admin. Augsburg Fortress.

                                                         Silent Night, Holy Night   Green LBW 65

 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

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.




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.                                                       cf. 1 Tim. 3:16


Almighty God, Father, X Son and Holy Spirit,

bless you now and forever.



CLOSING HYMN          Go, Tell It On the Mountain!                        Green LBW 70


        Go tell it on the mountain,

        over the hills and ev'rywhere;

        go tell it on the mountain

        that Jesus Christ is born!


1      While shepherds kept their watching

        o'er silent flocks by night,

        behold, throughout the heavens

        there shone a holy light.  Refrain


2      The shepherds feared and trembled

        when, lo, above the earth

        rang out the angel chorus

        that hailed our Savior's birth.  Refrain


3      Down in a lonely manger

        the humble Christ was born;

        and God sent us salvation

        that blessed Christmas morn.  Refrain


Text: African American spiritual, refrain; John W. Work Jr., 1872-1925, stanzas, alt.


Go in peace. Serve the Lord.          

Thanks be to God!





From Sundays and Copyright 2021 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.

Hofheinz-Döring, Margret, 1910-. Holy Family, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved December 10, 2021]. Original source:,_Margret_Hofheinz-D%C3%B6ring,_Aquarell1973_(WV-Nr.5834).jpg.












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