1st Lesson The prophet proclaims good news to a people in exile (Isaiah 40:1-8)
Comfort, comfort my people! says your God.
Speak compassionately to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her that her compulsory service has ended, that her penalty has been paid,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins! A voice is crying out: “Clear the Lord’s way in the desert! Make a level highway in the wilderness for our God!
Every valley will be raised up,
and every mountain and hill will be flattened.
Uneven ground will become level,
and rough terrain a valley plain.
The Lord’s glory will appear, and all humanity will see it together; the Lord’s mouth has commanded it.”
A voice was saying: “Call out!”
And another said,“What should I call out?”
All flesh is grass; all its loyalty is like the flowers of the field. The grass dries up and the flower withers
when the Lord’s breath blows on it. Surely the people are grass. The grass dries up; the flower withers,
but our God’s word will exist forever.
2nd Lesson The birth of the Messiah and his Kingdom are foretold by Isaiah (Isaiah 9:2, 6-7)
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. On those living in a pitch-dark land, light has dawned. A child is born to us, a son is given to us,
and authority will be on his shoulders.
He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be vast authority and endless peace
for David’s throne and for his kingdom, establishing and sustaining it
with justice and righteousness now and forever.
3rd Lesson The angel Gabriel salutes the virgin Mary
(Luke 1:26-35, 38)
When Elizabeth was six months pregnant,
God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a city in Galilee, to a virgin who was engaged to a man named Joseph,
a descendant of David’s house. The virgin’s name was Mary.
When the angel came to her, he said,
“Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you!”
She was confused by these words
and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you.
Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son,
and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. He will rule over Jacob’s house forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom.”
Then Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen since I haven’t had sexual relations with a man?” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come over you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the one who is to be born will be holy. He will be called God’s Son. Then Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.”
Then the angel left her.
4th Lesson Luke tells of the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:1-7)
In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria.
Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea.
He went to be enrolled together with Mary,
who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son,
wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.
5th Lesson Jesus is worshipped by shepherds and angels (Luke 2:8-16)
Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. The Lord’s angel stood before them,
the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified.
The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you— wonderful, joyous news for all people.
Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was
with the angel praising God. They said, “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.”
When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened.
Let’s confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.”
They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph,
and the baby lying in the manger.
6th Lesson Matthew 2:1-11)
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the territory of Judea during the rule of King Herod, magi came from the east to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is the newborn king of the Je
We’ve seen his star in the east, and we’ve come to honor him.” When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, and everyone in Jerusalem was troubled with him. He gathered all the chief priests and the legal experts and asked them where the Christ was to be born. They said, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what the prophet wrote:
You, Bethlehem, land of Judah, by no means are you least among the rulers of Judah, because from you will come one who governs, who will shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod secretly called for the magi and found out from them the time when the star had first appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search carefully for the child.
When you’ve found him, report to me so that I too may go and honor him.” When they heard the king, they went; and look, the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it
stood over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him. Then they opened their treasure chests and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
7th Lesson John unfolds the great mystery of the Incarnation (John 1:1-14)
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word was with God in the beginning. Everything came into being through the Word,
and without the Word nothing came into being.
What came into being through the Word was life,
and the life was the light for all people.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.
A man named John was sent from God. He came as a witness to testify concerning the light, so that through him everyone would believe in the light. He himself wasn’t the light, but his
mission was to testify concerning the light.
The true light that shines on all people was coming into the world. The light was in the world, and the world came into being through the light, but the world didn’t recognize the light.
The light came to his own people, and his own people didn’t welcome him. But those who did welcome him,
those who believed in his name, he authorized to
become God’s children, born not from blood nor from human desire or passion, but born from God.
The Word became flesh and made his home among us.
We have seen his glory, glory like that
of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
I always enjoy the service of Lessons and Carols and noted some new arrangements of some familiar Christmas music as well. A highlight for me was the duet by Colin and Simone–Gesu Bambino. My thanks to all for all the extra work and preparation for this service. With the sparkling tree and the greens that were hung it was very special.