First Sunday in Christmas

First Sunday in Christmas


First Sunday of Christmas
December 27, 2020
10:30 am

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
901 East Stroop Road
Kettering, oh 45429-4688
(937) 298-0136


In the psalm all the natural world praises God, including all humanity, male and female, young and old. The voices of Simeon and 84-year-old Anna join the chorus today, recognizing what God is doing in Jesus. Simeon’s song is often sung after communion, for we have seen God’s salvation in the assembled community and have held Jesus in our hands in the bread. Then, like the prophet Anna, we speak of Jesus to all who look for the healing of the world.
These Old, Tired Eyes
After hours of watching the news on television or scrolling through social media posts on screens big or small, your eyes can get tired. They get worn out not only from staring at the blue light of screens, but also from the unending stream of bad news. You might go to the newspaper, your favorite news channel, or Twitter with hopes of finding something good happening. Too often, you find the overwhelming problems of the world. It gets old. Your eyes get tired of seeing it all.
Two wise, faithful elders were in the temple praying and eagerly awaiting the good news that God had always promised to bring. They were filled with expectation and hope. But they were getting quite old, and after a long time of hoping, hopes can diminish. Faith can dwindle; eyes can get tired. Yet somehow, Simeon and Anna kept coming to the temple each day to pray and to wait.
Then the day came. The Spirit had guided Simeon. Anna had been sustained by her faith. Their old, tired eyes stayed open to see God’s saving acts in plain sight: Jesus was born to be the Savior and Messiah. Simeon says: “My eyes have seen your salvation!” (Luke 2:30). Anna gives thanks and prophesies about the redemption Jesus brings (Luke 2:38). In seeing God’s faithfulness, their hope is affirmed and renewed.
Many faithful people wait a long, long time to see what God will do to continue the story of salvation. Many elders among us have lived through trying times, never giving up hope, never ceasing to pray, always expecting that God will be faithful. In Christ, our old, tired eyes have been refreshed. All the bad news that wears us out and ages our bodies and minds is met with the good news of Jesus: God brings healing and forgiveness to all. Our eyes have seen God’s salvation!


The Holy Spirit calls us together as the people of God.





All may make the sign of the cross, the sign that is marked at baptism, as the presiding minister begins.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.
Most merciful God, we confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Amen.

God, who is rich in mercy, loved us even when we were dead in sin, and made us alive together with Christ. By grace you have been saved. In the name of Jesus Christ, your sins are forgiven. Almighty God strengthen you with power through the Holy Spirit, that Christ may live in your hearts through faith.

GATHERING SONG – Hark The Herald Angels Sing King of Heaven

Hark! the herald angels sing: glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled;
Joyful all ye 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.

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace, hail the Son of righteousness;
Light and life to all he brings, risen with healing in his wings;
Mild he lays his glory by, born that we no more may die;
Born to raise each child of earth, born to give us second birth;
Hark! the herald angels sing: glory to the newborn King.

King of heaven, come down;
King of heaven, come now;
Let your glory reign,
shining like the day.
King of heaven, come.

King of heaven, rise up.
Who can stand against us?
You are strong to save,
in your mighty name.
King of heaven, come.

Christ, by highest heaven 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.
Hark! the herald angels sing: glory to the newborn King, the newborn King.

King of heaven, come down;
King of heaven, come now;
Let your glory reign,
shining like the day.
King of heaven, come.

King of heaven, rise up.
Who can stand against us?
You are strong to save,
in your mighty name.
King of heaven, come.

King of heaven, come.
King of heaven, come.
King of heaven. come.
King of heaven, come.

King of heaven, come down;
King of heaven, come now;
Let your glory reign,
shining like the day.
King of heaven, come.


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.


Almighty God, you wonderfully created the dignity of human nature and yet more won- derfully restored it. In your mercy, let us share the divine life of the one who came to share our humanity, Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


God speaks to us in scripture reading, preaching, and song.

FIRST READING Isaiah 61:10–62:3

To the people who returned to Jerusalem after the exile, the prophet proclaims that the Lord’s salvation will fully come to pass. Jerusalem will become a shining light to the nations and righteousness and praise will spring up as surely as the earth puts forth vegetation.

A reading from the book of Isaiah.
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the na- tions. For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch. The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.

SECOND READING Galatians 4:4-7

Paul seeks to show the Galatians that the purpose of Christ’s birth was to liberate us from the law’s condemnation so that we would be fully adopted into God’s family as sons and daughters.

A reading from the book of Galatians.
When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.
Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.

GOSPEL Luke 2:22-40

Luke’s narrative continues with stories that emphasize Jesus’ connection to Judaism. His family is devout in its observance of the law, and Jesus himself is recognized as one who will bring glory to Israel.

The holy gospel according to Luke.
Glory to you, O Lord.

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, [Joseph and Mary] brought [Jesus] up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
The gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.


SPECIAL MUSIC – 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 ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear; for sinners here, the silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce him through, the cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh, the babe, the son of Mary!

So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh; come, peasant, king to own him.
The King of kings salvation brings; let loving hearts enthrone him.
Raise, raise the song on high,the virgin sings her lullaby;
Joy, joy, for Christ is born, the babe, the son of Mary!


I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.


Joining our voices with the song of the angels, let us pray for the church, the world, and all who are in need.

A brief silence.
Each intercession concludes:
Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.

God of mercy, come quickly to us with grace upon grace as we lift these and all our prayers to you, in the name of Jesus.

CANTICLE OF THANKSGIVING – Lift Every Voice and Sing

Lift ev’ry voice and sing till earth and heaven ring,
ring with the harmonies of liberty.
Let our rejoicing rise high as the list’ning skies,
let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us;
sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
let us march on till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod, bitter the chast’ning rod,
felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
yet with a steady beat, have not our weary feet
come to the place for which our parents sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered;
we have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last
where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
thou who hast brought us thus far on the way;
thou who hast by thy might led us into the light,
keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee;
lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee;
shadowed beneath thy hand may we forever stand,
true to our God, true to our native land.


Praise and thanks to you, holy God, for by your Word you made all things: you spoke light into darkness, called forth beauty from chaos, and brought life into being.
For your Word of life, O God,
We give you thanks and praise.

By your Word you called your people Israel to tell of your wonderful gifts: freedom from captiv- ity, water on the desert journey, a pathway home from exile, wisdom for life with you.
For your Word of life, O God,
We give you thanks and praise.

Through Jesus, your Word made flesh, you speak to us and call us to witness: forgiveness through the cross, life to those entombed by death, the way of your self-giving love.
For your Word of life, O God,
We give you thanks and praise.

Send your Spirit of truth, O God; rekindle your gifts within us: renew our faith, increase our hope, and deepen our love, for the sake of a world in need. Faithful to your Word, O God, draw near to all who call on you; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory forever.


Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us.
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 tempta- tion, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.


God blesses us and sends us in mission to the world.


Almighty God, who sent the Holy Spirit to Mary, proclaimed joy through the angels, sent the shepherds with good news, and led the magi by a star, bless you this day through the Word made flesh.

SPECIAL MUSIC – Go Tell It on the Mountain

Go tell it on the mountain,
over the hills and ev’rywhere;
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.

Go tell it on the mountain,
over the hills and ev’rywhere;
go tell it on the mountain
that Jesus Christ is born!

The shepherds
feared and trembled
when, lo, above the earth
rang out the angel chorus
that hailed our Savior’s birth.

Go tell it on the mountain,
over the hills and ev’rywhere;
go tell it on the mountain
that Jesus Christ is born!

Down in a lonely manger
the humble Christ was born;
and God sent us salvation
that blessed Christmas morn.

Go tell it on the mountain,
over the hills and ev’rywhere;
go tell it on the mountain
that Jesus Christ is born!


Go in peace. Share the gift of Jesus.
Created, saved and gifted by God; we seek, serve and share Jesus Christ. Hallelujah, thanks be to God!

Make a commitment to not only worship each week but also try to find a way to serve in the congregation and seek out a way to serve our community.



John, Apostle and Evangelist
Sunday, December 27, 2020

The son of Zebedee and brother of James, John was one of the twelve disciples and witness to the transfiguration. Tradition has named him also the writer of the Gospel of John, the three New Testament letters bearing his name, as well as Revelation.

The Holy Innocents, Martyrs
Monday, December 28, 2020

This day commemorates the young children killed by Herod in Bethlehem in his jealous attempt to murder the baby Jesus, a sobering reminder of the evil that led Christ to be born for our salvation.

Name of Jesus
Friday, January 1, 2021
By Jewish law, every baby boy was circumcised and named on the eighth day of life, so on the eighth day of Christmas the church celebrates this event in Jesus’ life. The keeping of the covenant as well as Jesus’ name are signs of God’s salvation given to us through him.

Johann Konrad Wilhelm Loehe, renewer of the church, died 1872
Saturday, January 2, 2021

A nineteenth-century German Lutheran pastor, Loehe worked to enliven the church with the eucharist at its center, from which would flow evangelism and social ministry. He sent pastors to North America, Australia, New Guinea, Brazil, and the Ukraine.

Christmas Eve
Eblast 1/3