Worship Service

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service (December 24, 2020)

Service for the Worship of God

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Dr. Robert R. Laha


What Child Is This
greensleeves, arr. Robert Elkjer
Forrest Sonntag and Nicholas Althouse, trumpet
Michael Hampf, horn
John Cox, euphonium
Brian Sands, tuba

Call to Worship

“Good news of great joy,” said the angel,
“for to you a savior is born.”
“Peace on earth,” sang the choir,
“for God reigns in the highest.”
“Follow me,” beckoned the star,
“for Hope was born in Bethlehem.”

Tonight, we watch for the Christmas story around us.
Emmanuel has come and is coming.
Come, all ye faithful; come and worship God!

HYMN 133
O Come, All Ye Faithful

adeste fideles

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. True God from true God,
Light from light eternal,
born of a virgin, a mortal he comes;
very God, begotten, not created!

3. Sing, choirs of angels;
sing in exultation;
sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest!

4. Yea, Lord, we greet thee,
born this happy morning;
Jesus, to thee be all glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing!

Prayer for Illumination
Dr. Robert R. Laha

Good and gracious God, on a night like this you gave us your Son, the Lord of the universe, wrapped in swaddling clothes, the Savior of the world, lying in a manger. On this night, draw us into the mystery of your love. Join our voices with the heavenly hosts so that we may proclaim your glory. Give us a place among the shepherds so that we might discover the one for whom we have waited, Jesus our Emmanuel. Amen.

First Lesson
God promises to bless the nations through Abraham

Genesis 12:1–3


Of the Father’s Love Begotten
divinum mysterium, arr. Steven Seigart (b. 1990)

1. Of the Father’s love begotten, ere the worlds began to be,
he is Alpha and Omega; he the source, the ending he,
of the things that are, that have been, and that future years shall see,
evermore and evermore!

2. By his Word was all created; he commanded; it was done:
heaven and earth and depths of ocean, universe of three in one,
all that sees the moon’s soft shining, all that breathes beneath the sun,
evermore and evermore!

3. This is he whom seers in old time chanted of with one accord,
whom the voices of the prophets promised in their faithful word.
Now he shines, the long-expected. Let creation praise its Lord,
evermore and evermore!

5. O ye heights of heaven, adore him. Angel hosts, his praises sing.
Powers, dominions, bow before him, and extol our God and King.
Let no tongue on earth be silent; every voice in concert ring,
evermore and evermore!

Text by Aurelius Prudentius (4th century), translated by John Mason Neale (1818–1866)

Second Lesson
The prophet announces the righteous reign of the coming king
Rev. Katherine A. Stanford

Isaiah 9:2–7


“For unto us a child is born” from Messiah
—G.F. Handel (1685–1759)
Recorded live on December 1, 2019

Text from Isaiah 9:6

Third Lesson
The prophet foretells the glory of Bethlehem
Rev. Ann Herlin

Micah 5:2–5a


—William Billings (1746–1800)

1. A Virgin unspotted, the prophet foretold, should bring forth a Savior, which now we behold
To be our Redeemer from death, hell and sin, Which Adam’s transgression involved us in.
Refrain: Then let us be merry, put sorrow away, Our Savior, Christ Jesus, was born on this day.

2. Through Bethlehem’s city in Judah, it was that Joseph and Mary together did pass,
And for to be taxed when thither they came, since Caesar Augustus commanded the same.
Refrain: Then let us be merry, put sorrow away …

3. But Mary’s full time being come, as we find, she brought forth her first born to save all mankind,
The inn being full, for this heavenly guest, no place there was found where to lay him to rest.
Refrain: Then let us be merry, put sorrow away …

Anonymous, 1661

Fourth Lesson
The angel Gabriel salutes Mary
Rev. Katherine A. Stanford

Luke 1:26-35, 38

HYMN 120
Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

des ist ein’ ros’

1. Lo, how a rose e’er blooming
from tender stem hath sprung,
of Jesse’s lineage coming,
by faithful prophets sung.
It came, a floweret bright,
amid the cold of winter,
when half spent was the night.

2. Isaiah ’twas foretold it,
the rose I have in mind;
with Mary we behold it,
the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright
she bore for us a Savior,
when half spent was the night.

3. This flower, whose fragrance tender
with sweetness fills the air,
dispels with glorious splendor
the darkness everywhere.
Enfleshed, yet very God,
from sin and death he saves us
and lightens every load.

Fifth Lesson
Christ is Born
Dr. Robert R. Laha

Luke 2:1–20


Angels’ Carol
—John Rutter (b. 1945)

Have you heard the sound of the angel voices
Ringing out so sweetly, ringing out so clear?
Have you seen the star shining out so brightly
As a sign from God that Christ the Lord is here?
Have you heard the news that they bring from heaven
To the humble shepherds who have waited long?
Gloria in excelsis Deo, Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Hear the angels sing their joyful song.
He is come in peace in the winter’s stillness,
Like a gentle snowfall in the gentle night;
He is come in joy like the sun at morning
Filling all the world with radiance and with light.
He is come in love as the child of Mary;
In a simple stable we have seen his birth:
Gloria in excelsis Deo, gloria in excelsis Deo!
Hear the angels singing ‘Peace on earth.’
He will bring new light to a world in darkness,
Like a bright star shining in the skies above;
He will bring new hope to the waiting nations
When he comes to reign in purity and love.
Let the earth rejoice at the Savior’s coming;
Let the heavens answer with the joyful morn:
Gloria in excelsis Deo, gloria in excelsis Deo!
Hear the angels singing ‘Christ is born.’

Text by John Rutter

Christmas Homily
Dr. Robert R. Laha

Affirmation of Faith
Adapted from A Declaration of Faith, 1977
Rev. Ann Herlin

Jesus, the long-expected Savior, came into the world as a child, descended from David, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of Mary. He lived as a Jew among Jews. He announced to his people the coming of God’s kingdom of justice and peace on earth. We affirm that Jesus was born of woman as is every child, yet born of God as was no other child. In the person and work of Jesus, God and a human life are united but not confused, distinguished but not separated. The coming of Jesus was itself the coming of God’s promised rule. Through his birth, life, death, and resurrection, he brings about the relationship between God and humanity that God always intended.

Presentation of Offerings
Rev. Katherine A. Stanford

Lighting of the Christ Candle
Dr. Robert R. Laha

HYMN 122
Silent Night (Verses 1–3)
stille nacht

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,
heavenly 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 thy holy face,
with the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

Christmas Prayer

HYMN 134
Joy to the World (Verses 1, 2 and 4)


1. Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her king;
let every heart prepare him room,
and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

2. 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.

4. 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.

Charge and Benediction
Dr. Robert R. Laha


In dulci jubilo, BWV 729
—J.S. Bach (1685–1750)

Worship Leaders
The Rev. Dr. Robert R. Laha, Pastor
The Rev. Katherine A. Stanford, Associate Pastor
The Rev. Ann Herlin, Associate Pastor
Dr. Steven Seigart, Director of Music and Organist


Thank you to those who dedicated greens, poinsettias and holiday decorations this Christmas.

In Memory of …

  • Paul H. Bea, Sr., Art Lesniak and Drew Davis Smith, by Skip and Nancy Bea
  • Dear friends Carvel Markley and Ken Matthews, by Skip and Nancy Bea
  • Margaret Elizabeth Boggess, by the Boggess/Tolbert Family
  • Mary and Willett Elmore and June and Carl Elder, by the Elmore Family
  • Craig Powell, by Mary Hill
  • Joan San Filippo, by Monika Klinkman
  • Ben Laha, by Lynda and Grace Laha
  • The angels in our Family, by King and Grace Laughlin
  • Elaine Smiley, by Wendy, Alan, Liam and Thomas Matney
  • Barbara Metcalf, William Metcalf and Byrdie Metcalf, by Anne Metcalf
  • Loved Ones, by Larry and Jean Rood
  • Their grandparents/great-grandparents George & Lavina Staley, Catherine & Lee Fuhrman, Bob & Jean Herlin, and George & Mildred Pollard, by Terry, Ann, Leah and Benjamin Staley
  • Abby and Ellie, by Leah and Benjamin
  • Her parents, Grace and Marvin Gunderson, by Marilyn Stegman
  • Her friend, Betty Heiby, by Marilyn Stegman
  • Our parents, Mr & Mrs. Handley Ward, Sr., and Mr. & Mrs. August Wilkening, by Ginger and Clifford Wilkening

In Honor of …

  • Their mothers, Evelyn Bea and Mary Ellen Heaton, by Skip and Nancy Bea
  • Grandparents (Tom and Jan Brewer, Larry and Peggy Toney), by Rob, Lottie, Katerina and Johann Brewer
  • OPMH staff, by the Elmore Family
  • Their daughters, Beth and Cate, by Tim and Judi Elmore
  • Their children and grandchildren, by Debbie and Mike Farmer