St. John’s & Emmanuel
Evangelical Lutheran Churches
Montello & Mecan, WI
THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD
A Reformation Christmas
December 24 & 25, 2017
AS WE GATHER
With great joy we celebrate today the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. The word incarnation comes from the Latin, meaning “to be made flesh.” God wrapped himself in the flesh and blood of his own human creation and humbled himself to be born of the virgin Mary. Whether our mental images of this event are shaped by the warm glow of softly lit manger scenes and quiet Christmas carols, or whether we think of the rough, simple, and humble starkness of our Lord’s birth, attended by angels and working shepherds, the message is the same: Christ the Savior is born! Let us rejoice and celebrate!
ABOUT THE SERVICE
Christmas is the last Christian festival in the calendar year in which we commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. As with previous special services in Lutheran churches in 2017, much has been said by and about Martin Luther. This service is no exception. And yet they have never emphasized the man; it’s always been his message. And that message is that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone according to the Scriptures alone. Luther himself admitted, “I have done nothing; the Word has done and accomplished everything.… I let the Word do its work!” Even though today’s service contains many Luther quotes and hymns, they always point to Christ and his Word. We pray that the Holy Spirit will use that Word today to do its work of nurturing and saving souls.
+ GATHERING +
OPENING HYMN Now Sing We, Now Rejoice
Christian Worship 34
INVOCATION Matthew 28:19
M: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
We sustained a hurt through Adam’s fall. Through it all of us are tainted with sins and subject to death. But greater than this hurt is the blessing we receive through Christ. He became man himself in order to redeem us from sin and death. The devil came close to us; but he did not come so close as to assume our nature. For although he fell through pride and thereupon persuaded man also to fall away from God, he nevertheless did not become man and did not come so close to us as did God’s Son, who became our flesh and blood. What Luther Says, 456
CONFESSION & FORGIVENESS OF SINS
M: God invites us to come into his presence and worship him with humble and penitent hearts. Therefore, let us acknowledge our sinfulness and ask him to forgive us.
C: Holy and merciful Father, I confess that I am by nature sinful and that I have disobeyed you in my thoughts, words, and actions. I have done what is evil and failed to do what is good. For this I deserve your punishment both now and in eternity. But I am truly sorry for my sins, and trusting in my Savior Jesus Christ, I pray: Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.
M: God, our heavenly Father, has been merciful to us and has given his only Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Therefore, as a called servant of Christ and by his authority, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Behold Christ lying in the lap of his young mother, still a virgin. What can be sweeter than the Babe, what more lovely than the mother! What fairer than her youth! What more gracious than her virginity! Look at the Child, knowing nothing. Yet all that is belongs to him, that your conscience should not fear but take comfort in him. Doubt nothing. Watch him springing in the lap of the maiden. Laugh with him. Look upon this Lord of Peace and your spirit will be at peace. See how God invites you in many ways. He places before you a Babe with whom you may take refuge. You cannot fear him, for nothing is more appealing to man than a babe. Are you affrighted? Then come to him, lying in the lap of the fairest and sweetest maid. You will see how great is the divine goodness, which seeks above all else that you should not despair. Trust him! Trust him! Here is the Child in whom is salvation. To me there is no greater consolation given to mankind than this, that Christ became man, a child, a babe, playing in the lap and at the breasts of his most gracious mother. Who is there whom this sight would not comfort? Now is overcome the power of sin, death, hell, conscience, and guilt, if you come to this gurgling Babe and believe that he is come, not to judge you, but to save. The Martin Luther Christmas Book, p40
M: Now let us give thanks to the Lord our God, who by his nativity freed us from the devil’s power. Therefore it is right that we forever sing with the angels: “Glory to God in the highest!”
HYMN OF PRAISE All Praise to You, Eternal God
Christian Worship 33
PRAYER OF THE DAY
M: The Lord be with you.
C: And also with you.
M: Let us pray: Almighty God, grant that the birth of your one and only Son in the flesh may set us free from our old bondage under the yoke of sin; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
+ THE WORD +
This is the word of the prophet: “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” This is for us the hardest point, not so much to believe that he is the son of the Virgin and God himself, as to believe that this Son of God is ours. That is where we wilt, but he who does feel it has become another man. Truly it is marvelous in our eyes that God should place a little child in the lap of a virgin and that all our blessedness should lie in him. And this Child belongs to all mankind. God feeds the whole world through a Babe nursing at Mary’s breast. This must be our daily exercise: to be transformed into Christ, being nourished by this food. Then will the heart be suffused with all joy and will be strong and confident against every assault. The Martin Luther Christmas Book, p23
FIRST LESSON Isaiah 9:2,6-7
2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
Ah, we poor people, to be so cold and sluggish in the face of the great joy that has clearly been prepared for us! This great benefaction exceeds by far all the other works of creation; and yet our faith in it is found to be so weak, although it is preached and sung to us by angels, who are heavenly theologians and who were so glad for our sake! Their song is very, very beautiful and describes the entire Christian religion. For giving glory to God in the highest heaven is the supreme worship. This they wish and bring us in the Christ. What Luther Says, 459
PSALM OF THE DAY Psalm 98
Sing to the LORD a new song,*
for he has done marvelous things.
The LORD has made his salvation known*
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel;*
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,*
burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the LORD with the harp,*
with the harp and the sound of singing.
Shout for joy before the LORD, the King.*
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son*
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning,*
is now, and will be forever. Amen.
It is not for the angels to be proud of Christ’s incarnation, for Christ did not assume an angelic but a human nature. Therefore it would not be a surprise if the angels looked at us with envy in their eyes because we human beings, creatures far inferior to them and sinners besides, are placed above them into an honor so high and great. They worship Christ, who has become our Brother, our flesh and blood; and yet they are not envious but gladly grant us the honor and are sincerely pleased by the fact that Christ is our Brother. They marvel at the human nature in Christ; and yet the honor and glory are not theirs but ours. Are we human beings unable to rejoice and be proud of it? What Luther Says, 458
SECOND LESSON Hebrews 1:1-9
1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. 5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Psalm 2:7
“I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”? 2 Samuel 7:14; 1 Chronicles 17:13
6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God’s angels worship him.” Deuteronomy 32:43
7 In speaking of the angels he says,
“He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.” Psalm 104:4
8 But about the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy.” Psalm 45:6,7
The greatest treasure and the highest comfort we Christians have is the fact that the Word, the true, natural Son of God, has become a man who in every respect has flesh and blood as any other man has, and who has become man for our sake that we may be raised to the great glory of having our flesh and blood, our entire body, with all its parts and members, sit in heaven above, like God; that we may boldly defy the devil and whatever assails us. For now we are certain that our bodies belong in heaven and are heirs of the kingdom of heaven. What Luther Says, 455
GOSPEL John 1:1-14
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
M: This is the Gospel of the Lord.
C: Praise be to you, O Christ!
HYMN OF THE DAY To Shepherds As They Watched by Night
Christian Worship 53
SERMON “Born to Save Us”
EXPLANATION TO THE SECOND ARTICLE OF THE APOSTLES’ CREED
M: Do you believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, your Lord?
C: I believe that Jesus Christ,
true God, begotten of the Father from eternity,
and also true man, born of the virgin Mary, is my Lord.
He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature,
purchased and won me from all sins, from death,
and from the power of the devil,
not with gold or silver but with his holy, precious blood
and with his innocent suffering and death.
All this he did that I should be his own,
and live under him in his kingdom,
and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness,
just as he has risen from death and lives and rules eternally.
This is most certainly true. Luther’s Small Catechism
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH Based on quotations from Martin Luther
M: Let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs.
C: God wants us to pray, and he wants to hear our prayers—
not because we are worthy, but because he is merciful.
M: Lord Jesus, you descended from heaven into this humility and came to us in our flesh. You placed yourself into the womb of a virgin and into the manger and then went on to the cross. This was the ladder you placed on earth so that we might ascend to you on it.
C: No other God have I but thee—
Born in a manger, died on a tree.
M: O most merciful Father, you sent your only Son into the world and laid upon him the sins of all people, saying, “You be Peter that denier; Paul that persecutor, blasphemer and cruel oppressor; David that adulterer; that sinner who ate the apple in Paradise; that thief who hung upon the cross; and briefly, you be the person who has committed the sins of all people. See therefore that you pay and satisfy for them.”
C: Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness, I am your sin.
You have taken upon yourself what was mine and given me what was yours.
You became what you were not, that I might become what I was not.
M: As we celebrate the birth of Christ, help us pledge ourselves anew to the cause of Christ. Lead us to capture the spirit of the early church. Wherever the early Christians went, they made a triumphant witness for Christ. Whether on the village streets or in the city jails, they daringly proclaimed the good news of the gospel.
C: I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever;
For though all things shall pass away, “God’s Word Shall Stand Forever”
His Word shall stand forever. attr. to Luther
M: As we contemplate our Savior’s birth, should we think: “If I had only been there! How quick I would have been to help the Baby. I would have washed his linen. How happy I would have been to go with the shepherds to see the Lord lying in the manger!” Open our eyes to similar opportunities today as you lead us to see Christ in our neighbor.
M: Lord, grant that anger or other bitterness do not reign over us,
but that your grace, genuine kindness, loyalty,
and every kind of friendliness, generosity, and gentleness may reign in us.
M: The prosperity of a country depends, not on the abundance of its revenues, nor on the strength of its fortifications, nor on the beauty of its public buildings; but it consists in the number of its cultivated citizens, in its people of education, enlightenment and character.
C: Bless our country with a government that administers and upholds justice.
M: O Great Physician of soul and body, you are no doubt able to make those who are sick well and those who are suffering whole. If it is your will, heal them. Whether in sickness or in health, help them place all their confidence in you.
C: Therefore if we are sick, we are not sick unto ourselves;
if we are well, we are not well unto ourselves;
if we are in trouble, we are not in trouble unto ourselves;
if we are glad we are not glad unto ourselves. What Luther Says, 4121
For whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Romans 14:8
M: As we celebrate the Lord’s Supper this festival day, it is the highest art to know that our Sacrament does not depend upon our worthiness. We are not baptized because we are worthy and holy. Nor do we go to Confession because we are pure and without sin. On the contrary, we go because we are poor, miserable people. We go exactly because we are unworthy. Large Catechism, V, par.61
C: Lord Jesus, with joy and gratitude I now come to your table
to receive the precious food of your life-giving body and blood.
May it strengthen me to remain in you as you remain in me,
so that I bear much fruit in devoted service to you
and in acts of kindness to others. Christian Worship, p156
Special prayers and intercessions may follow.
M: Hear us Lord, as we bring you our private petitions.
M: Into your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy. Let us not flutter too high, but remain by the manger and the swaddling clothes of Christ, in whom all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form. Colossians 2:9
C: Unto him who is able to keep us from falling,
and lift us from the dark to the bright mountain of hope,
from the midnight of desperation to the daybreak of joy,
to him be power and authority for ever and ever. Amen.
M: Lord Jesus, remember us in your kingdom and teach us to pray:
C: 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.
HYMN From Heaven Above to Earth I Come
Christian Worship 38: 14, 15
NOTE: At the 12/24 7:00pm service at St. John’s, individual candles will be distributed (Remember-don’t tip a lighted candle)
“And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” That is wrong. We should correct this passage to read, “They went and shaved their heads, fasted, told their rosaries, and put on cowls.” Instead we read, “The shepherds returned.” Where to? To their sheep. Oh, that can’t be right! Did they not leave everything and follow Christ? Must not one forsake father and mother, wife and child, to be saved? But the Scripture says plainly that they returned and did exactly the same work as before. They did not despise their service, but took it up again where they left off with all fidelity and I tell you that no bishop on earth ever had so fine a crook as those shepherds.
The Martin Luther Christmas Book, p50
BLESSING Numbers 6:24-26
M: Brothers and sisters, go in peace. Return to your homes and families, your fields and flocks, your businesses and industries. Serve the Lord with gladness.
The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
The Lord look on you with favor and give you peace.
CLOSING HYMN Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful
Christian Worship 55
MARTIN LUTHER AND THE CHRISTMAS TREE
Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce. It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.
“History of Christmas Trees”
Theme for next Sunday (12/31):
The Sunday after Christmas–New Year’s Eve: Jesus Shared Our Humanity
Note: Please give your completed friendship register page to an usher or pastor as you leave today’s service.
|ACTIVITIES FOR THE WEEK DECEMBER 24-DECEMBER 30
||Emmanuel Christmas Eve Worship
||Emmanuel Nursery Sunday School
||St. John’s Sunday School
||Emmanuel Adult Bible Study
||Caroling at Montello Care Center
||St. John’s Christmas Eve Worship
||St. John’s “A Reformation Christmas” Candlelight Christmas Eve Worship
||Emmanuel Christmas Day “A Reformation Christmas” Worship
||St. John’s Worship with communion
||Montello Care Center Devotion with communion
||Griefshare at St. John’s
|SCHEDULE FOR NEXT SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2017
The Sunday after Christmas–New Year’s Eve: Jesus Shared Our Humanity
||Emmanuel Nursery Sunday School
||St. John’s Sunday School
||Emmanuel Adult Bible Study
||St. John’s Worship
||St. John’s Candlelight Memorial/New Year’s Eve Worship with communion
||Emmanuel Memorial/New Year’s Day Worship with communion
LITTLE LAMBS DIRECTOR CALL MEETING Our current Little Lambs director, Sandy Hemling, has asked to step down from her position as Little Lambs director. The school board has requested from our WELS Northern Wisconsin District President, Pastor Joel Zank, a list of candidates to be reviewed at a Call meeting scheduled for Sunday 1/7/18 at 11:30 a.m. We thank Sandy Hemling for her faithful service and willingness to continue serving in coming months until her position as Little Lambs director is filled.
ST. JOHN’S OFFERING STATEMENT SIGN-UP The signup sheet is located in the church link way. Please sign up if you wish to have a copy of your 2017 offering statement.
ST. JOHN’S OFFERING ENVELOPES 2018 are located in the link way of church. Please pick yours up but do not use until January 2018. If you do not have a box, feel free to contact pastor or the office and we will get one to you!
EMMANUEL SUNDAY BIBLE CLASS will resume January 7, 2018 at 9:00a.m.
THANK YOU to Bob & Lynn Pegarsch for donating $1,500.00 to St. John’s Lutheran School. Your gift is appreciated! “I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.” Psalm 7:17
NEW YEAR’S EVE LOCK-IN All 6th-12th graders are invited to our youth group’s 3rd annual NYE lock-in. Enjoy an evening of fun & games, movies, not to mention lots of snacks & food. We will begin after St. John’s New Years Eve service, concluding at 9 am on NY’s day. For more details, or to sign up, call or text us at 608-697-1600(Mark)or 608-697-3327(Patty). Deadline to sign up is December 27.
GRIEFSHARE Please join us at Griefshare! Griefshare is a grief recovery support group that is open to the public. Grief is a part of life, but it does not have to consume your life. Learn from a panel of experts and those who have walked down the road from mourning to joy! There is no charge for this class and light refreshments will also be served. Griefshare will be a 13 week long session, every Thursday at 6:00 pm. To sign up or if you have questions please call the facilitator, Mark Emond at 608-697-1600.
ALTAR FLOWERS If you are interested, we are always in need of altar flowers. Feel free to contact the church/school office!
CHURCH WEBSITE Thank you Kerry and Jen Mann for the work on our church website: www.stjohnsmontello.org. Your comments and suggestions for improvement are welcomed: 414-339-9031 – email@example.com
WEDNESDAY ADVENT DEVOTIONS Please join us for our special Wednesday Advent Devotions: “Advent Equations” – 3:30pm at E & 6:30pm at SJ. Come, Lord Jesus, Come!
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS 12/3 at Emmanuel: Josh & Amanda Kuchar and son Weston, 12/10 at St. John’s: Adam Myers & Jennifer Strauss – A new “Bible Information Class” will begin on Wed 1/3/18 at 7:30pm in pastor’s office/conference room at St. John’s. Alternate days/times can also be scheduled. Free study guides are available from pastor…just ask.
NEW WEEKDAY/EVE BIBLE CLASS Beginning January 2018, we’ll be starting a new weekday/eve Bible Study entitled: “Your Questions–Scriptures Answers: Adiaphora” (things that God doesn’t command or forbid in the Bible and how we are to properly use our Christian freedom). We meet at St. John’s in the pastor’s office/conference room Monday 7:30pm (beginning 1/8) and Wednesday 10am (beginning 1/3). “Therefore let us leave the elementery teachings about Chrsit and go on to maturity…” (Hebrews 6:1)
NEW YEAR’S EVE/DAY COMMUNION/SAINTS TRIUMPHANT SERVICES Sunday 12/31 7pm at St. John’s and Monday 1/1 9am at Emmanuel, communion services are scheduled where the names of our E/SJ members called to their heavenly home in 2017 will be read and bells tolled. “For all the saints who from their labors rest…” (Hymn 551)
Emmanuel: Today December 24 Christmas Eve Brian Ninneman, Jim Stuempges, Joe Heller, December 25 Christmas Day 9:00am Darrell Buchholz, Glenn Buchholz, Paul Dahlke, December 31 Lucas Stelter, Paul Wuerch, DuWayne Sommerfeld
St. John’s: Today December 24 (C) Christmas Eve Dennis Wacholtz, Richard Freitag, Gerhardt Voigt, Mitch Simon, Karl Whitrock, December 24 Candlelight Service 7:00pm Jack Yates; Chief, Matt Borzick, Glen Bubolz, Al Rosenthal, Christopher Smith, December 31 Don Smith, Chief, Calvin Wojtalewicz, Zeb Zuehls, Mark Emond, Kevin Kaul, December 31 (C) Candlelight New Year’s Eve Service Kenon Smith; Chief, Scott Ritz, James Kunde, Ken Borzick, Thomas Wojtalewicz
GREETERS TODAY Delvin & Jean Henke
|12-17 12-17 LL 1 2-20 E 12-20 SJ
||179 ? 22
|ST. JOHN’S ALTAR COMMITTEE CONTACT DECEMBER 2017
||Jennie Utke & Susan Brown
In addition to our regular St. John’s Sunday 10:00 a.m. and Emmanuel 8:00 a.m. services, please see our special Christmas Service schedule below. God bless you this Christmas season!
|Sunday, December 24, 2017
||“A Reformation Christmas” Candlelight Service at St. John’s
|Monday, December 25, 2017
||“A Reformation Christmas” Service at Emmanuel
|Sunday, December 31, 2017
||New Year’s Eve Service at St. John’s with communion
|Monday, January 1, 2018
||New Year’s Day service at Emmanuel with communion
Welcome To Our Visitors!
Please Sign Our Guest Register
Visit our website & Facebook link at: www.stjohnsmontello.org
Pastor Peter Zietlow Office (608) 297-2321
Cell & Text (608) 408-7830, E-mail: ZietlowPL6@hotmail.com
Principal Tim Hemling (608) 745-2549
Teacher Karin Stellick (920) 342-3689
Teacher Sara Borck (858) 731-7919
Teacher Sandra Hemling (608) 745-2776
Parish/School Secretary Ciara Neuhauser (608) 297-2866
Altar Ladies Elaine Kelm (920) 344-0025 &
Carolyn Rosenthal 589-5036
Mail to: 313 E Montello St, Montello, WI 53949
Winnebago Lutheran Academy
Principal Mr. David Schroeder/WLA office (920) 921-4930
WLA website: www.wlavikings.org
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