Grace Lutheran Church Grace Lutheran Church
Grace Lutheran Church is live
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service 2021
Pam Smith
Pam Smith
Friday, December 24, 2021

Nativity of Our Lord

A Service of Holy Communion 
with Candlelighting
Friday,  December 24, 2021
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
Lakeland, Florida


We are so glad that you are with us for worship on this Blessed Christmas Eve as we rejoice in the birth of Jesus, the Word of God made fully human. It is God who calls us all to this place on this holy evening and together we are greater than either of us alone. Your participation with us enhances us all.

We hope that you will find much in our worship space that captures your interest and wonder. The decorations on our Christmas tree. The stained glass and Chrismons. The art and beauty that surrounds us. The joy of music by our choir, instrumentalists and the band may touch a special chord for you. And, the story we have heard before and long to hear again. Christmas carols sung in praise and joy.

If you have any questions or comments or special requests or if you wish to communicate directly with Pastor Pam, you may place a note in the offering plate  or hand it to an usher.

May God bless us all as we worship together!

Children are a welcome part of our worship – chatter, squawking and all. They need not be shushed. If you would prefer to sit with them in the narthex, please feel free to take a “time out” at any time – ushers will assist you.

Restrooms are located near the entrance. An usher will give you directions.

Holy Communion is for all baptized Christians. You are welcome at the Lord’s Table. You will find further information in the worship folder. And, any usher will help guide you.

Come, let us adore him!

by Jay Althouse          
              Grace Choir   
        Holy Child within the Manger  by Marty Haugen
              Grace Worship Band                                         



Many ages after God created the heavens and the earth,
when man and woman were formed in God's own image;
long after the great flood, when God set the rainbow in the
 clouds as a sign of the covenant;

twenty-one centuries from the time of Abraham and Sarah;
thirteen centuries after Moses led God's people to freedom;
eleven centuries from the time of Ruth and the judges;
one thousand years from the anointing of David as king;
in the sixty-fifth week as Daniel's prophecy takes note;
in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the founding
 of the city of Rome;

the forty-second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;
in the sixth age of the world, all the earth being at peace,
Jesus Christ, eternal God, Son of the eternal Father,
willing to hallow the world by his coming in mercy,
was born of the virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judea.

Today is the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, God made flesh.

     Lighting the Christ Candle

The prophet Isaiah shares a word with a waiting world.  “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… For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders.”

“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.”

As we stand faithfully on the brink of God’s time, we light the candles of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.

Tonight we enter God’s time, faithfully.  We light the Christ Candle to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus, the Light coming into the world.

     Christ, Be Our Light
          ELW 715

Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

PRELUDE        Christmas Prelude   by Jack Upton, Jr.

     O Come, All Ye Faithful    
         ELW 283

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!

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

Sing, choirs of angels,
sing in exultation,
sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God
in the highest:    Refrain

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                                      

Tonight Christ is born; Alleluia, 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.

Let us pray.
     A brief silence is kept before the prayer.
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.

      The Children and the Shepherds
            by Nancy Price/Don Besi1g 
                    Grace Choir    

+ WORD +

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION   Angels We Have Heard on High
     ELW 289

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.

GOSPEL:  Luke 2:1-20
The holy gospel according to Luke.
Glory to you, O Lord.

1In 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.

This gospel of the Lord. 
 Praise to you, O Christ.

Come to Bethlehem and see
him whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee
Christ the Lord, the newborn king.
Gloria in excelsis Deo;
Gloria in excelsis Deo.

SERMON       Pastor Pamela Smith

Hymn:  Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
     ELW 270  (vs. 1, 2)

Hark! The herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn king;
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled."
Joyful, all you nations, rise;
join the triumph of the skies;
with angelic hosts proclaim,
"Christ is born in Bethlehem!"

Hark! The herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn king!"

Christ, by highest heav'n adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord,
late in time behold him come,
offspring of a virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see!
Hail, incarnate deity!
Pleased as man with us to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel!    Refrain

Joining our voices with the heavenly host and Christians throughout time and space, let us pray for the church, the world, and all in need.

A brief silence.

Love proclaims that a Savior has been born to us! Inspire your church throughout the world to proclaim the good news of Jesus’ birth to all who seek salvation, hope, and new life. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

Love whispers to a weary world that the time for rest and restoration has come.  Grant restoration and refreshment to all who are weary.  Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

Love cries to a warring world that the time for peace is at hand. Direct those in power who make decisions on behalf of others, that they nurture and sustain all that is healthy, good, and holy. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

Love sings through the wails of a newborn baby. Respond to all who cry out in pain, despair, or need this night. Bring comfort to those for whom separation, grief, or loss makes the Christmas season difficult. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

Love murmurs words of comfort to a newborn child and exhausted parents. Bless new and expectant parents or caregivers, and all those who are alone or afraid this night. Pour out your love upon families of every kind. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

God’s ever-present love is proclaimed through the faithful who came before us. We give you thanks for Mary, John the baptizer, Elizabeth his mother, Joseph the dreamer, and all who point toward your love. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

Rejoicing in your Word made flesh among us, we commend these prayers to you, confident of your grace and love made known to us in Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Peace be with you all.
And also with you.


We are resuming the passing of the offering plate during the service.  Alternatively, some are using for online giving or are using their bank’s online banking option.  Whichever way you choose to give, we are grateful for your stewardship and generosity.   

SPECIAL MUSIC    O Holy Night  by Adolphe Charles Adam / Cappeau De Roquemaure, tr. Dwight, arr Mark Hayes
           Mark Thomsen, tenor

Let us pray.  Good and loving 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.


The Lord be with you.                
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 thanks and praise.

        It is indeed right, our duty and our joy, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, almighty and merciful God, through our Savior Jesus Christ.  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 all the choirs of angels, with the church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

Holy One, the beginning and the end, the giver of life:
Blessed are you for the birth of creation.
Blessed are you in the darkness and in the light.
Blessed are you for your promise to your people.
Blessed are you in the prophets’ hopes and dreams.
Blessed are you for Mary’s openness to your will.
Blessed are you for your Son Jesus, the Word made flesh.

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.

Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:
Christ has died.  Christ is risen.  Christ will come again. 

With this bread and cup we remember your Word dwelling among us, full of grace and truth.  We remember our new birth in his death and resurrection. We look with hope for his coming.
Come, Lord Jesus.

Holy God, we long for your Spirit. Come among us.  Bless this meal.  May your Word take flesh in us. Awaken your people.  Fill us with your light. Bring the gift of peace on earth.
Come, Holy Spirit.

All praise and glory are yours, Holy One of Israel, Word of God  incarnate, power of the Most High, one God, now and forever.

    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.

In Holy Communion, the baptized children of God are invited by the Lord to the Lord’s Table where we receive Jesus’ very body and blood in, with, and under the bread and wine.  We commune at the head of the aisle receiving the host and then moving to receive wine or grape juice by individual cup. The ushers will direct you.  Gluten free bread is available.  If you wish to commune but cannot come forward, let an usher know and Pastor will come to you.  For those who do not wish to commune, they are welcome to come forward to receive a blessing from Pastor.

COMMUNION ANTHEM     One Small Child     by David Meece
                                                         Grace Worship Band           


Emmanuel, God with us, you grace us with life and breath and give us bread for the journey.  Send us out in service to this world that you love, telling the amazing news of your coming to be Savior and Lord of all.


The Pastor will light her candle from the Christ Candle and the ushers will light their candles from hers.  They will light the candle of the first worshiper in each row.  That person will offer their light to the person next to them, allowing them to tilt their candlewick for lighting.  Please note that the unlit candle tips.  Take care to hold candles upright and away from clothing and hair.  Parents, please take special precautions with small children.

     Hush by Lucinda Hynett


By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness.    Luke 1:78

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”    John 9:2

Arise, shine for your Light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.     Isaiah 60:1

Let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.     Matthew 5:16

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.     Isaiah 9:2

For it is God who has shone in our hearts to give the light of knowledge of the glory of the face of Jesus Christ.    2 Corinthians 4:6

And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light.    Revelation 22:5

The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you by night; but the Lord will be your everlasting light.  Isaiah 60:19

HYMN:   Silent Night, Holy Night
 ELW 281

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.

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!

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.

The congregation extinguishes the candles after the blessing.  Please hold the candle upright for a bit, so the wax can solidify.  The congregation may turn to follow the cross visually during the procession.

SENDING HYMN:   Joy To The World
ELW 267

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her king;
let ev'ry heart prepare him room
and heav'n and nature sing,
and heav'n and nature sing,
and heav'n, and heav'n and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let all their songs employ,
while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sin and sorrow grow
nor thorns infest the ground;
he comes to make his blessings flow
far as the curse is found,
far as the curse is found,
far as, far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace
and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness
and wonders of his love,
and wonders of his love,
and wonders, wonders of his love.

Filled with the joy of Christ’s birth, go in peace to love and serve 
the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

POSTLUDE    Rejoice in the Lord    by James Mansfield


Assistant Minister:        
   Naomi Thomsen    
   Tim Blanchette        
   Kaitlyn King        
   Emily & Riley King        
   Cheri & Kevin Zarnstorff        
Sound and Lights:
   Dan Stoller
AV Techs:  
   Marty Lewis & Riley King    
   David Cannistraci
Tenor Saxophone:
   P.J. Blanchette
Choir Director:
   Harold Wright                

Holy Child within the Manger, Text and music Marty Haugen, b. 1950.  Text and music © 1987 G.I.A. Publications, Inc. Reprinted and/or streamed with permission under OneLicense #A-722274.  All rights reserved.

Christ, Be Our Light, Text and music: Bernadette Farrell, b. 1957, Text and music © 1993 Bernadette Farrell. Published by OCP Publications. Reprinted and/or streamed with permission under OneLicense #A-722274.  All rights reserved.

Angels We Have Heard on High, Text: French carol; tr. H. F. Hemy, The Crown of Jesus Music, 1864.  Music: French carol; arr. Edward S. Barnes, 1887-1958.  Public domain.

Liturgical Text, Music, and Images from Evangelical Lutheran Worship, © 2006 and 2020 Augsburg Fortress, and © 2019 Augsburg Fortress. Reprinted and/or streamed with permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies License #SAS016761.  All rights reserved.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Text: Charles Wesley, 1707-1788, alt.  Music: Felix Mendelssohn, 1809-1847; arr. William H. Cummings, 1831-1915. Public domain.

One Small Child, Text and music: David Meece, Text and music © 1971 Word Music, LLC.  Reprinted and/or streamed with permission under CCLI License # 2241477.  All rights reserved.

Hush by Lucinda Hynett, used with permission.  

Silent Night, Text: Joseph Mohr, 1792-1849; tr. John F. Young, 1820-1885.  Music:  Franz Gruber, 1787-1863.  Public domain.

Joy to the World, Text: Isaac Watts, 1674-1748.  Music: English melodyu, 18th cent.; arr. Lowell Mason, 1792-1872.  Public domain.


Given by                    
Caroline Low                    
   in memory of husband Gene
Pastor Pam Smith                
   in memory of Earl Smith
Sue Wallace                    
   in memory of Kent Wallace
Naomi & Mark Thomsen            
   in memory of Loved ones
Pat & Laura Blanchette & sons        
   in memory of Pat’s parents, Laura’s parents & brother
Mary Flekke    
   in memory of John & Muriel Flekke   
                                                                           & Anton Traeger
Given by                   
Sandra Thiele                   
   in honor of the Christ Child
Caroline Low                    
   in honor of the Christ Child
Russ & Judy Washburn            
   in honor of the Christ Child
Angela Moran                    
   in honor of the Christ Child
Janet Morris                    
   in honor of the Christ Child
Pastor Pam Smith                
   in honor of the Ministry of Grace
Marty & Sharon Lewis    
   in honor of the Christ Child & our grandchildren