Christmas December 25, 2005



Luke 2:9-20

Pre-Service Meditation: Psalm 98

Pre-service prayer:

Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child,
Make Thee a bed soft, undefiled,
Within my heart that it may be
A quiet chamber kept for Thee.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay,
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care
And take us to heaven to live with Thee there.


Pastor’s Call to Worship: Hymn 85:1-5

Congregation joins to sing:

Now let us all with gladsome cheer
Go with the shepherds and draw near
To see the precious Gift of God
Who hath His own dear Son bestowed.


Hymn: Welcome Happy Morning

Welcome happy morning age to age shall say
“Christ is born of Mary all our debt to pay.”
Heav’nly riches leaving, God’s own Son came down
Born our sin to carry and give us His crown.
Welcome happy morning age to age shall say,
“Christ laid in a manger, PEACE is born today!”

In a world of darkness, hopelessness, and grief,
In a world of sinners, where is there relief?
Turn your eyes to Beth’lem see salvation’s morn
In the Light of Jesus all our fears are gone.
Welcome happy morning age to age shall say,
“Christ laid in a manger, HOPE is born today!”

Not a passing gladness but eternal joy
Is God’s Christmas present through this little Boy.
For God’s gracious blessing let thanksgiving ring!
And this Christmas morning lift your hearts to sing:
Welcome happy morning age to age shall say,
“Christ laid in a manger, JOY is born today!”

Pastor: In the beginning was the Word,
Cong: and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
P: He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him,
C: and without Him nothing was made that was made.
P: In Him was life,
C: and the life was the light of men.
P: And the light shines in the darkness,
C: and the darkness did not comprehend it.
P: He was in the world, and the world was made through Him,
C: and the world did not know Him.
P: He came to His own,
C: and His own did not receive Him.

Confession of Sins (Pastor and Congregation):

Lord God, we confess that we also have walked in darkness. We too have pursued the dark ways and sinful desires of the world, rather than walking in the Light of our Savior. We confess our many sins of thought, word, and deed. We pray, asking that you would forgive us out of Your grace. Have mercy upon us and pardon us, even as You also strengthen us and keep us in the saving faith of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Absolution (Pastor):

Rejoice! God has sent His Son. Jesus is born to save you from your sins. God has made you His beloved children through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son. Enter into His courts with praise and thanksgiving. Enter into His presence free from your sins, renewed by Jesus, and filled with the love and joy of God’s grace!

P: But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
C: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
P: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
C: And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.


Welcome to Bethlehem! You’ve come to see for yourself the child of whom you’ve heard. There was a birth last night and you’ve arrived to see this wonder for yourself. Last night, in these fields where you are walking, there were shepherds going about their daily tasks. Perhaps you first heard the news from them or saw them about town telling their news to whomever they would meet.

While these shepherds were in their fields keeping watching over their flocks by night, “Behold! an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, 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, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us(Luke 2:9-20).

The shepherds came to this cattle stall where you are standing. They came and found everything exactly as the angel had said, and then went out singing and shouting the praises of God…and proclaiming the news to everyone they met! There’s room in the stall for you to come and see too. Come! See baby Jesus and praise God for His wonderful gift!


Where Shepherds lately knelt
And kept the angel’s word,
I come in half belief,
A pilgrim strangely stirred;
But there is room and welcome there for me,
But there is room and welcome there for me.

An amazing sight, isn’t it! Where before have you ever seen a newborn baby swaddled as usual, but laid in a manger? Where will you ever see such a sight again? Such a tender young child in such a simple and humble condition.

Did you hear Him cry? Babies do cry so its not at all amazing that this one would also cry and nuzzle into his mother’s keeping. That voice you heard crying is going to mature and then cry out in a different way. He’s going to cry out with God’s Word so that you and other sinners might come to Him for salvation.

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water(John 7:37-38).

As exciting and wonderful as this birth is, the man into which this child will grow is going to die. Every sinner born into this world will face death, because sin brought death into the world and there is now a time to be born and a time to die (cf. Ecclesiastes 3). But this child isn’t a sinner. Yet, He also is going to die—not because of sin, but for sin. This child will grow up and cry out for you from a cross.

At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”…And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last(Mark 15:34,37).

It is amazing! This child now lies in a manger and cries so that He can grow up to cry out with His Word and in His death, so that your sins may be forgiven, so that you will be saved, and live eternally where “God will wipe away all tears from [your] eyes and there will be no more death, nor crying…(Revelation 21:4)


In that unlikely place
I find Him as they said:
Sweet newborn Babe, how frail!
And in a manger bed,
A still, small voice to cry one day for me,
A still, small voice to cry one day for me.

The shepherds weren’t the first ones to see this newborn Savior who brings salvation to sinners. For thousands of years the faithful people of God saw this day through the promises of God. They did not know all of the circumstances that would surround Jesus’ birth, but they knew many of them. They knew what would take place and saw it through the eyes of faith looking forward to what would come. They were confident that it would come to pass, because God had declared it.

Micah, Jeremiah, Malachi, and all the other prophets of God proclaimed the news of a coming Savior. Isaiah too, was here through faith that looked forward and he saw that “The virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel(Isaiah 7:14).

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this (Isaiah 9:6-7).

There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious
(Isaiah 11:1-2,6-10).

You too, like Isaiah, are seeing this child through the eyes faith as you look back in time. Seeing this child through faith makes Him no less real. Like Isaiah, you can see Him as if He were here, because God has spoken and revealed it to you.


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,
A child, a son, the Prince of Peace for me.

When we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-8).

God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:5-9).

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends (John 15:13).

We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).


Can I, will I forget
How love was born, and burned
It’s way into my heart unasked,
Unforced, unearned.
To die, to live, and not alone for me,
To die, to live, and not alone for me?

[Worship Supplement 2000, #715]


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.

When sin departs before Your grace,
Then life and health come in its place.
When sin departs before Your grace,
Then life and health come in its place.
Angels and saints with joy may sing
All for to see the newborn King.

From out of darkness we have light
Which made the angels sing this night.
From out of darkness we have light
Which made the angels sing this night:
"Glory to God and peace to men
Now and forevermore. Amen!"

[Worship Supplement 2000, #707]

Christmas Meditation

A CHILD is born

You’ve come to see a newborn child lying in a manger, so frail, so small.
If you but pause along the way, you will marvel that this child is here at all.
The proclamation: “A child is born!” can be heard anywhere, any day;
But the truth that lies behind this child is miraculous in every way.

Every child born is a miracle of God’s power and of the love He gives,
Every child’s “growing up” is amazing, wonders fill the years he lives.
Every child that we would know has a human father and a mother
This child is the Son of God, which makes His birth like none other.

For you see, the Son of God was long before time came to be
He is eternal God—without beginning, without end—now born for you and me.
At creation, He was there, All things were made through Him—the eternal Word.
Throughout the Old Testament, He did appear as “the Angel of the Lord.”

Imagine! God’s eternal Son leaving heaven, taking flesh, coming to this sinful earth,
putting aside His power, glory, and dominion to give Himself to us in humble birth.
But wait! The wonder of this child and of His birth are not in this alone.
The Son of God came to die. That is why He left His throne.

The Son of God was born so He could die for sinners—every one;
And yet He remained fully God, both Mary’s and God’s Son.
And thus, “A child is born” is not small news, not something you hear every day
Rather it is a miracle of God’s deep grace, more wondrous than simple words can say.

You’ve come to see a newborn child and here behold! Your Savior-King!
A Savior born to give you life, so let the praises ring!
The sin and guilt are ours. The grace, the wonder, and love are His.
Thus, here we find an answer, to the question: What Child is This?


What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this, is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing.
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son, of Mary!

Why lies He in such mean estate
Where oxen now are feeding?
Good Christians, fear; for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through;
The cross He’ll bear for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

PEACE is Born

You have come to see a newborn child and as you gaze at what you see,
You may begin to dream somewhat about what this child will grow up to be.
With each child born there is so much potential for all the gifts that God will give
through him to family, friends, and others for as long as the one who is born shall live.

When you see a newborn child you may see a doctor who will tend to those who are ill,
a factory worker faithfully serving, a father, or teacher—there are so many roles he could fill!
When each new child is born, the gifts God gives will lead to further blessings from above
as the child grows to adulthood and serves His Lord and neighbors in Christ-like love.

And so it is that in the manger more than just a child was laid.
All that God would accomplish through Him was also born upon this day.
This child is named, “The Prince of Peace” for peace is a gift born with Him this day
“Peace on earth” the angel declared before sending the shepherds on their way.

Peace? In this world with war and soldiers far from home?
Yes! In our newborn Savior we find peace regardless of what may come.
It is not a peace between nations. War in Iraq will not today come to an end.
It is the peace that surpasses understanding,Changing God’s enemies to friends.

Sin stands between us and God. It angers Him and brings His judgment sharp and stern.
As long as sin remains there is no peace, and God’s anger against each of us will burn!
But God in Christ Jesus reconciled us to Himself, placing all of our sin on Jesus.
Bearing that load of guilt and evil, He went to the cross, and split the blood that frees us.

Jesus bore the dark cloak of sins, giving us His righteousness in their place.
Because of this, God declares us righteous and calls us sinless—purely by His grace.
We who were once God’s enemies are now His beloved children, at peace and safe in His care.
No more does guilt plague our hearts toward God, there’s no more need for worry or fear.

Though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea, and all of earth rage around us sore,
We still have a refuge in our Savior and are at peace. The world simply cannot touch us anymore.
Jesus defeated Satan, He has defeated death and torn sin’s bondage asunder,
You are reconciled to God, at peace with your Creator. This is A Great and Mighty Wonder

Hymn: A Great and Mighty Wonder (TLH 76)

HOPE is Born

You have come to see a newborn child, to celebrate this holy birth,
But tomorrow the birthday is past and you’ll return to daily life upon this earth.
For oh, so many, the joy, excitement and thrill of this day fade quickly and are lost.
If the thrill of this day is only passing, the value of the treasure is forgotten at the soul’s great cost.

This child is a child of hope, a child of expectation, a Savior to bring you into each new tomorrow
This child is a child to pick you up from each failure, and carry you through every sorrow.
Where there is no hope the future is bleak, the desire is dim, for “why should I care?”
But a life filled with Jesus’ hope is a life that’s excited for the future because Jesus is there!

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Believe it! Jesus gives you a future and hope regardless of whatever is, or has been.
You have the hope—certain hope—of life eternal waiting for you in heaven’s mansions grand.
You also have hope from God for all that you face as pilgrims through this earthly land.

Are there things you hope for, desires you have, and dreams you long to see fulfilled?
Take them to Your Savior. He will give you the desires of your heart, according to His will.
Are there decisions in your life, heartaches, when you know that you are so weak?
Lift up your hearts, there is hope! Jesus is the help and strength you seek!

You will face uncertainties, and things may often appear without hope,
Don’t let your heart be troubled, don’t wander lost and in the darkness grope.
Instead, go to the light of God’s Word, find direction and hope to chase away fear.
Then go forward led by Your Savior. Hope is born. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear!


It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold:
"Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From heav’n’s all gracious King!"
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful step and slow—
Look up! For glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing.
Oh, rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

JOY is Born

You have come to see a newborn child, let your hearts be light and filled with joy.
As you hear and proclaim the glorious news about this little boy.
Sin is the source of all sadness, and yes, sadness still comes, bringing with it our tears
But rejoice to know Your Savior, and that He will turn sadness to joy throughout the years.

Let there be joy and singing across the nations, in every home—today, tomorrow, every day!
The best news for sinners has been declared, the gate is open, the path well-marked upon our heavenly way.
Let the joy you know and feel—the joy of forgiveness in Jesus Your Lord—
Spill from your hearts, and lives, and words o’erflowing, to spread the glorious news abroad.

Forget not this Christmas joy, forget not the smiles you see this morning.
Return again and again to the well of salvation whenever your heart in sorrow is groaning.
Beware of loving earthly joys that are fleeting. Cling to the true joy of the Gospel you have heard.
Then the reward of joy will also be lasting and shared with Joy to the World!

Hymn: Joy to the World (TLH 87)

THANKS is Born

You have come to see a newborn child, what gifts will you bring?
What can we give in thanks to Him who is God, our Savior and King?
Our Savior has given us so much. We are rich because He became poor.
By the message of His Gospel, a new life is created that doesn’t want to live for self anymore.

Thanksgiving, praise and adoration well up from the believing heart,
These are all attitudes that are not present in sinners from the start.
We love Him because He first loved us—with Him our hearts of thanksgiving are given life.
When we consider the blessing of our salvation, the question of what can we give in return seems good and right.

What can we give for such blessings so graciously rendered?
There is no greater gift to our Savior than hearts and lives humbly surrendered
To live in His service and be led by Him, throughout all our days
To glorify Him in all that we do,so that every thing about us will give Him praise!

Thanks is born in your lives when time is taken for Your Lord,
To work in His kingdom, to aid His Church, and hear, learn, and spread His Word.
Thanks is born in your lives when you give Him of your treasure,
Offering the service of the gifts He gives you, using them beyond all measure!

The gifts God gives us are out of His grace, there is no charge.
Our lives are lived in thanksgiving for these gifts, so many and so large.
“Lord, I may not have gold, frankincense, and myrrh to bring from out of my coffer,
But there is so much more that I can give. To Thee My Heart I Offer. Amen.

—Pastor Wayne C. Eichstadt

Hymn: To Thee My Heart I Offer (TLH 89)

Prayer & Lord’s Prayer


Closing Hymn:


Go tell it on the mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere;
Go tell it on the mountain
That Jesus Christ is born!

While shepherds kept their watching
O’er silent flocks by night,
Behold! Throughout the heavens
There shone a holy light.


The shepherds feared and trembled
When lo! above the earth
Rang out the angel chorus
That hailed our Savior’s birth.


Down in a lonely manger
The humble Christ was born;
And God sent us salvation
That blessed Christmas morn.


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