Bulletin: December 31st, 2023

First Lutheran Church                                                               
PO Box 153 - 240 Elm Street West                                             December 31, 2023            
Amery, WI   715-268-7135                                                            www.flcamery.org
Our mission is to know Jesus and to make Jesus known. Jn. 17    

Welcome to Worship at First Lutheran Church

 HYMN: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing…………………………..…. Green 60
L: The Prophet Isaiah said: 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.
People: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
L: The Priest Zechariah said before John’s birth: 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, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
People: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
L: The Evangelist John said: What has come into being in him was life and the life is the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
People: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
L: God is with us. God is coming into our lives in a new way. The birth of the Christ-child is the renewal of hope. A reminder that  Christ will come again.  Keep watch for the light; it is drawing near.
ALL: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
HYMN:  O Come, All Ye Faithful  (verses 1,3,4) …………………..Green 45
First Reading Luke 1 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.  The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”  Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.  But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.  You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”  The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God….”  “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

HYMN:  Angels We Have Heard on High  (verses 1,3)
…………Green 71

Second Reading  Matthew 1  
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:  “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”).

HYMN:  Joy to the World  (verses 1 & 4)……………………..…………Green 39
Third Reading Matthew 1 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Fourth Reading Luke 2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  And everyone went to his own town to register.  So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  

HYMN: It Came Upon the Midnight Clear (verses 1,2,4)………Green 54
Fifth Reading  Luke 2 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be   a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”  When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”  So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

SERMON:  Lou Williamson
HYMN:  O Little Town of Bethlehem  (verses 1,3,4)
…….……Green 41

Sixth Reading  Matthew 2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem  and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”  When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”  Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”  After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.  On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

HYMN:  The First Noel, The Angel Did Say (verses 1-3)………Green 56
PRAYERS Leader:  Glory to God in the highest,  
and peace to God’s people on earth.
Blessed are you, Prince of peace. You rule the earth with truth and justice.
Send your gift of peace to all nations of the world.
Blessed are you, Son of Mary. You share our humanity.
Have mercy on the sick, the dying, and all who suffer this day.
Blessed are you, Son of God. You dwell among us as the Word made flesh.
Reveal yourself to us in your word that we may bear your light to all the world.

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.

Let us bless the Lord. People:    Thanks be to God.

May you be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the determination of the magi, and the peace of the Christ child. Almighty God, Father,                         Son, and Holy Spirit bless you now and forever.  Amen
Let’s share the good news of Jesus as we leave this place today.
HYMN: Away in a Manger………………………………...……..…….Green 67
Go in peace and sing Jesus’ praise!       Thanks be to God!!
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