Christmas Day, 2022


DECEMBER 25, 2022




Opening Hymn: 133   O Come All Ye Faithful.


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.


Yea, Lord we greet Thee,

Born this happy morning

Jesus, to Thee be all glory giv’n

Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;

O come let us adore Him.

O come let us adore Him.

O come let us adore Him.

Christ the Lord.



What do you know about the Christmas Tree?

What do you really know about the Christmas Tree?     Many have suggested that we as Christians have joined the world by indulging in a pagan ritual.     Are we then promoting a false religion by displaying a Christmas tree in our homes and in our Church?

This morning, we are going to journey through the history of the Christmas Tree and the pages of Holy Scripture to unfold the History and more importantly the Mystery of the Christmas Tree and its significance for us as Christians.     We begin this journey by asking our Savior to be present in Hymn 110.

Hymn 110:   O come, O Come, Emmanuel


Oh, come, Oh, come, Emmanuel

And ransom captive Israel

That mourns in lonely exile here

Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.


Oh, come, Thou Key of David, come

And open wide our heav’n-ly home:

Make safe the way that leads on high

And close the path to misery.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to Thee, O Israel.




The History of the Christmas tree: Ancient practices.

Christians are not the first ones to use trees in conjunction with their celebrations of particular events.   People have used the season and the evergreen in the celebration of the Winter Solstice.

  • Centuries ago in Great Britain, woods priests called Druids used evergreens during mysterious winter solstice rituals. The Druids used holly and mistletoe as symbols of eternal life, and placed evergreen branches over doors to keep away evil spirits.

The Mystery of the Tree of Life: The Ancient Garden of Eden.


Genesis 2:9  “And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.    The Tree of Life was in the midst of the Garden.”

The mystery of the Christmas Tree takes us back, as Christians, not to Luke 2, and not even to Genesis 3 and the Fall into sin, but back to Genesis 2:9.           The Bible begins with this Tree of Life in Genesis and it ends with this same Tree of Life in the very last chapter of the book of Revelation.     This Tree of Life is no longer in the Garden of Eden, but we are going to find out that we can still eat of that Tree.    That is the mystery we will continue to unfold this evening.

Hymn: 181:  Of the Father’s love begotten.

A.C. Predentius: 348-413 A.D.


Of the Father’s love begotten

Ere the worlds begin 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.


He is found in human fashion

Death and sorrow here to know

That the race of Adam’s children,

Doomed by Law to endless woe,

May not henceforth die and perish

In the depths of hell below

Evermore and Evermore.



The History of the Christmas Tree: It’s beginning with St. Boniface.

The fir tree has a long association with Christianity, it began in Germany almost 1,000 years ago when St Boniface, who converted the German people to Christianity, was said to have come across a group of pagans worshipping an oak tree.   In anger, St Boniface is said to have cut down the oak tree and to his amazement a young fir tree sprung up from the roots of the oak tree.   St Boniface took this as a sign of the Christian faith. But it was not until the 16th century that fir trees were brought indoors at Christmas time.      Now, Let’s go back to Genesis and the Tree of Life.

The Mystery of the Tree of Life:  The beginning of death.


Genesis 3: 2 and 3.  “And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden,’ but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’

God created Adam and Eve with the choice between the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.     You might ask, “But where is the mention of the ‘Tree of Life,” in this text?   That is just the point…Eve does not mention the Tree of Life in her conversation with Satan.   Remember, there were two trees in the midst of the Garden.    God had granted that Adam and Eve could eat of every tree of the Garden including the Tree of Life.     That seemingly was not important to her; not as “attractive” as the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  She concentrated on what God had forbidden, not on what God had given.

Here is the Fall into sin.   Here already she delighted in the forbidden tree rather than telling Satan, “But we have the Tree of Life, that is our joy and pleasure.”   This sin condemned and affected not only Adam and Eve but all of humanity from conception on.

Yet, are we not a lot like Adam and Eve?  God has given us His Word and Sacraments.    These should be our delight and in them we should take our greatest pleasure in this life.  God has given us His Commands to protect us from the lies of Satan.   Is not our life more often like Eve who takes delight in the treasures and things of this life?      Christmas is a time for repentance.   Praise God, we can rejoice that He has sent a Savior so that we may come to repentance.    Let us now do that in a hymn composed several hundred years before Luther.

Hymn 135:   Now sing we, now rejoice.

Latin Hymn: 14th century.


Now sing we, now re-joice,

Now raise to heav’n our voice,

Lo!  He from whom joy stream-eth,

Poor in the manger lies:

Yet not so bright-ly beam-eth

The sun in yon-der skies!

Thou my Savior art!

Thou my Savior art!


Now through His Son doth shine

The Fa-ther’s grace divine.

Death o-ver us hath reign-ed

Through sin and van-i-ty;

The Son for us ob-tain-ed

E-ter-nal joy on high.

May we Praise Him there!

May we Praise Him there!




The History of the Christmas Tree: Martin Luther and the Christmas Tree.

Legend has it that Martin Luther began the tradition of decorating trees to celebrate Christmas. One crisp Christmas Eve, he was walking through snow-covered woods and was struck by the beauty of a group of small evergreens. Their branches, dusted with snow, shimmered in the moonlight.   When he got home, he set up a little fir tree indoors so he could share this story with his children.    He decorated it with candles, which he lighted in honor of Christ’s birth and to signify that Christ is the Light of the World.  This is why we decorate our trees with lights today.

The Mystery of the Tree of Life: Adam and Eve and the Tree of Life.


Genesis 3: 22-24.  “Then the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing Good and evil.    Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the Tree of Life and eat, and live forever’—therefore the LORD God sent him out from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.   He drove out the man, and at the east of the Garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the Tree of Life.”

Here again we encounter the Tree of Life.    But this time, instead of merely forbidding Adam and Eve to eat of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, God shuts them out completely away from the Tree of Life precisely so that they would not eat of it.   But herein lies a great mystery.    God did not want them living forever in their sin.    The WAY to the Tree of Life would not come through the gate of the Garden of Eden but in a different way.    This WAY will be unfolded as we go through the lessons this evening.

Hymn 134:   Let us all with gladsome voice.

1632 A.D.


Let us all with gladsome voice
Praise the God of heaven,
Who, to bid our hearts rejoice,
His own Son hath given.


To this vale of tears He comes,
Here to serve in sadness,
That with Him in heaven’s fair homes
We may reign in gladness.



The History of the Christmas Tree: A symbol of the Christian Faith.

To those inclined toward superstition, branches of evergreens placed over the door kept out witches, ghosts, evil spirits and the like.   This use does not mean that our Christmas tree custom evolved solely from paganism.   For us, the Christmas tree is a symbol of a living Christmas faith and brings into our lives a pleasant aroma of the forest to remind us of the sweet odor that Jesus is to our troubled souls.

The Mystery of the Tree of Life: The First Gospel Promise.

Genesis 3:15.    The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.    I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring[e] and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

Adam and Eve had rejected the Tree of Life and paid homage to paganism with the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.     Yet, the LORD in His mercy gave them a promise that the Tree of Life, Jesus, would come into the world once again, to die on a tree that would bring life to all sinners.    Genesis 3: 15 is the first Gospel promise.   The Christmas Tree as an evergreen symbolizes for us eternal life.      Let us join with the ancient hymn writer St. Ambrose who in the year 397 as he wrote of the fulfillment of this promise in his hymn, Savior of the Nations, Come.

Hymn 90: Savior of the Nations. Come

St. Ambrose of Milan: 340-397 A.D.


Savior of the Nations, Come.

Virgin’s Son, make here Thy home!

Marvel now, O heav’n and earth,

That the Lord chose such a birth.


Wondrous birth! O wondrous Child!

Of the Virgin undefiled!

Though by all the world disowned,

Still to be in heav’n enthroned.



The History of the Christmas Tree: A symbol of the Paradise tree.

An early visitor to Germany records a tree decorated with “wafers and golden sugar-twists (Barleysugar) and paper flowers of all colours”.    The early trees were biblically symbolic of the Paradise Tree in the Garden of Eden.

The mystery of the Tree of Life: Genesis 3: 15 fulfilled.

Isaiah 7: 14-15.    Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.    He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.

God commanded the Children of Israel to construct the Tabernacle specifying its precise construction down to the very finest detail.    One of the pieces of “furniture” that was to remain in the Tabernacle was the Golden Lampstand.     The Menorah or Lampstand, was designed to resemble a tree.    The description of the Menorah is recoded in Exodus 37. “   With the design of the Lampstand, the LORD was bringing the Children of Israel back to the Garden of Eden.   It symbolized the presence of Christ among them as the Tree of Life and the Light of the world.          The Menorah was to be designed to look like Seven Branches.    The cups were designed to look like almond blossoms and flowers.     And all of this was to be in the purest and finest of Gold.

Jesus is the fulfillment of this Lampstand as we learn from Isaiah 7: 14-15.   Christmas Trees are often decorated with gold, both in ornaments and as with our tree, a golden garland all around it to signify the Golden Lampstand.   This in turn signifies the value of the “fruit” of that Tree, the perfect life of Christ, His suffering and death and glorious resurrection which God bestows on us in Holy Baptism.   This is truly a wonder and with St. Germanus who wrote his hymn in 734 we sing the Hymn, “A Great and Mighty Wonder.”

Hymn: 113   A Great and Mighty Wonder.

St. Germanus: 614-734 A.D.

Mega kai paradoxon qauma


A great aqnd Mighty wonder,

A full and holy cure;

The Virgin bears the Infant

With virgin honor pure!

Repeat the hymn again:

“To God on high be glory

And peace of earth to men.”


The Word become incarnate

And remains on high,

And cherubim sing anthems

To shepherds from the sky.

Repeat the hymn again:

“To God on high be glory

And peace of earth to men.”



The History of the Christmas Tree:  The Tree of Life.

Legend has it that St. Boniface, around the eleventh century A.D., used the triangular shape of the Fir Tree to describe the Holy Trinity of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The converted people began to revere the Fir tree as God’s Tree, as they had previously revered the Oak.    By the 12th century it was being hung, upside-down, from ceilings at Christmastime in Central Europe, as a symbol of Christianity.

The Mystery: The Tree of Life is given a Name.

Isaiah 9: 6-7     “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His Name shall be called ‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”     Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over His Kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.   The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.”

As Christians of many generations, we use the shape of the Christmas Tree to demonstrate our faith in the Trinity.    And like the mystery of the Holy Trinity itself, the text of Isaiah 9:6-7 which speaks of Christ remains a profound mystery accepted by faith.     Jesus, the Tree of Life is given the Name, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”     How this is possible is beyond our human reason.   With St. Paul, we can only say, “Deep is the mystery of our religion.”

Hymn 123:  From Heaven above to earth I come.

Martin Luther.

The hymn has 15 verses.


(The angel to the shepherds)


To you this night is born a Child

Of Mary, chosen Virgin mild;

This little Child of lowly birth,

Shall be the joy of all the earth.


(Our response)


Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child,

Make Thee a bed, soft undefiled,

Within my heart, that it may be

A quiet changer kept of Thee.



The History of the Christmas Tree: Lowly beginnings in American History.

Let us fast forward to the early part of our country.    Settlers from all over Europe took their customs with them also in the 19th century as they came to this country.    Decorations were not easy to find in the shanty towns of the West, and people began to make their own decorations.   Tin was pierced to create lights and lanterns to hold candles which could shine through the holes.

The Mystery of the Tree of Life: A lowly birth.

Micah 5: 2    “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for Me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days,”

This text speaks of another “shanty town” but in a different country, Judah and Bethlehem, the town of God’s choice.   Bethlehem was insignificant as far as most Jews were concerned.    Jerusalem was the city of choice for the Jews.  The ornaments on our Christmas trees often depict the Star of Bethlehem which brings us back to this Old Testament Text.     We sing the verses of “O little Town of Bethlehem.”

Hymn 137: O Little Town of Bethlehem.

  1. Brooks 1835-1893


O little town of Bethlehem, How still we see the lie!

Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, The silent stars go by;

Yet in thy darkness shin-eth, The Everlasting Light;

The hopes and fears of all the years, Are met in Thee tonight.


O holy Child of Bethlehem, Descend to us we pray;

Cast out our sin and enter in, be born is us today.

We hear the Christmas angels, the great glad tidings tell:

Oh, come to us, abide with us, our Lord Immanuel!



The History of the Christmas Tree: During the American Revolution.

The Christmas tree tradition most likely came to the United States with Hessian troops during the American Revolution, or with German immigrants to Pennsylvania and Ohio.   But the custom spread slowly. The Puritans banned Christmas in New England.    Even as late as 1851, a Cleveland minister nearly lost his job because he allowed a Christmas tree in his church.    Schools in Boston stayed open on Christmas Day through as late as 1870, and sometimes expelled students who stayed home.

The Mystery of the Tree of Life:  During the reign of Caesar Augustus.

Luke 2: 1-7    In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.    This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.  And all went to be registered, each to his own town.     And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,  to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.    And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.    And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Luke 2 unfolds the True Christmas story like no other Gospel text.    The first 7 verses speak of the birth of Jesus itself.     The Tree of Life comes to a lowly stable.    He is placed in a feed bin and clothed not in a garment fit for a king, but the kind of clothing only the poor could afford.      We sing of this manger in two well-known hymns, “Away in a manger.” and “Once in David’s Royal city.”

Hymn 119:   Away in a manger.

Cradle song from Little Children’s book.

W.J. Kirkpatrick: 1883-1921

Away in a manger, no crib for His bed,
the little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head.
the stars in the sky looked down where He lay
the little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the poor Baby wakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes;
I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

Hymn 139:   Once in Royal David’s city.

C.F. Alexander 1818-1895


Once in royal David’s city Stood a lowly cattle shed

Where a mother laid her Baby In a manger for His bed.

May was that mother mild, Jesus Christ her little child.


Not in that poor lowly stable with the oxen standing by

We shall see Him, but in heaven, Set at God’s right hand on high;

Where, like stars, His children crowned, All in white shall wait around.



The History of the Christmas Tree: The Popularity of the Christmas Tree.

By 1900, one in five American families had a Christmas tree, and 20 years later, the custom was nearly universal.   By 1930 popular decorations were all produced by a British manufacturer and sold by FW Woolworth.

The Mystery of the Tree of Life:  The sign of Jesus’ birth.


Luke 2: 8-14   8And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”[c]

The shepherds did not have ornaments or a store like FW Woolworth to buy them.    They had something better: An angel who would tell them about miraculous birth of the world’s Savior.     These were the “Glad Tidings” that would glow, not in the dark on a Christmas Tree, but would glow in their hearts.     We adorn our trees with lights to recall also the light of the angels.   So we sing the hymn of the Shepherds.

Hymn 147:  While Shepherds watched their flocks.

  1. Tate: 1672-1715


While shepherds watched their flocks by night,

All seated on the ground,

The angel of the Lord came down,

And glory shone around.

And glory shone around.


To you, in David’s town,

this day is born of David’s line.

A Savior, wo is Christ the Lord;

And this shall be the sign.

And this shall be the sign.


The heav’nly Babe you there shall find

To human view displayed,

All meanly wrapped in swaddling clothes

And in a manger laid.

And in a manger laid.



The History of the Christmas Tree:  Tinsel?

Some of us are old enough to remember when something called “tinsel” was popular to decorate Christmas Trees.     I have not seen tinsel for years but it made the tree look really nice.     I usually ended up with the job of hanging the tinsel on our Christmas Tree growing up.     Where did tinsel come from?   Tinsel was invented in Germany around 1610.    Tinsel was used right up to the mid-20th century.

The Mystery of the Tree of Life: No tinsel.

Luke 2: 15-20   When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

The Shepherds did not have tinsel to make their life bright.    They had the angels and the brightness that shown all around them.   But the tinsel can serve this purpose for us as Christians.

Hymn 126: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

English Carol: 18th century.


God rest you merry gentlemen.

Let nothing you dismay,

For Jesus Christ, our Savior,

Was born on Christmas Day

To save us all from Stan’s power

When we were gone astray.

O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and Joy.

O tidings of comfort and joy.


From God, our heav’nly Father,

A blessed angel came;

And unto certain shepherds

Brought things of the same;

How that in Bethlehem was born

The Son of God by name.

O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and Joy.

O tidings of comfort and joy.



The History of the Christmas Tree:  The advent of artificial trees.

Today Christmas trees come in many forms…natural and artificial, undecorated, decorated with candles, lights, ornaments, and treats…colored, fiber optic, and even upside down Christmas trees!

Mystery of the Tree of Life: The Truth and Life which saves.


Revelation 2:7   “To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the paradise of God.”

In contrast to many trees on the market today, the Tree of Life is not artificial.   God has decorated His Tree of Life with the ornaments of the holy and sinless life of Christ, the lights of His suffering and death and finally the sash of His glorious resurrection which gives us the gift of eternal life.     As Christians, we decorate our Christmas trees to depict the Tree of Life spoken of first in Genesis and then here in Revelation 2 to the churches of Asia Minor.    We can rejoice in this treat and this gift as the greatest and best gift of all.    Let us now rejoice in this Tree of Life as we sing hymn 87, “Joy to the world.”

Hymn 138: Joy to the world.

  1. Watts: 1674-1748


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 men their songs employ,

While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains

Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat the sounding joy,

Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.



The History of the Christmas Tree: A pagan Symbol.

Sadly, the Christmas tree is not without controversy.    It has been condemned as a pagan symbol, renamed a “holiday tree” and removed from public spaces due to political correctness, and the use of young trees blasted by environmentalists as waste!       Those who have changed this time of year into a “Winter Festival” and are calling Christmas time a “Winter Break” are the modern pagans.   We again look at the mystery of this tree in the book of Revelation.

The History of the Tree of Life: The Garden of Eden restored.

Revelation 22: 1, 2 and 14   “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also on the either side of the river, the Tree of Life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month.   The leaves of the Tree were for the healing of the nations.”      “Blessed are they who wash their robes, so that they have the right to the Tree of Life and that they may enter the city by the gates.”

Is it not interesting that the Bible begins with the Tree of Life in the second chapter of Genesis even before the creation of the woman and then and ends with the Tree of Life in the very last chapter of Revelation.    Indeed, it is more than interesting, for Revelation 22 is a picture of the restoration of the Garden of Eden with the Tree of Life.   If Adam and Eve had chosen the Tree of Life, they would have lived forever.    They lost that choice and God banned them from the Garden.

But in the Kingdom of God, paradise is restored and Jesus is our Tree of Life for in Him is life and salvation.    This means that the Garden of Eden is no longer closed.    By His holy life and death, Jesus has removed the Cherubim from the entrance along with the flaming sword.   That flaming sword stressed God’s anger against sinners.   But God’s anger has been removed in Christ.   Our Heavenly Father invites back into the Garden and bids us to eat and eat freely of the Tree of Life and taste of His grace, mercy and forgiveness won on the cross.   You see, God would have all men to be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth and so wants you to eat from the Tree of Life as well.

Hymn 114:   Angels from the Realms of glory.

  1. Montgomery, 1771-1854


Angels from the realms of glory,

Wing your flight o’er all the earth;

Ye who sang creation’s story

Now proclaim Messiah’s birth.

Come and worship, Come and worship,

Worship Christ, the newborn King.


Shepherds in the fields abiding.

Watching o’er your flocks by night,

God with man is now abiding,

Yonder shines the Infant light.

Come and worship, Come and worship,

Worship Christ, the newborn King.


Christmas Day Offering:

Christmas Day Prayer:

LORD God, gracious Father, who in the fullness of time sent Your Son to assume our flesh and become our Brother, we thank You for Your truth and fatherly goodness in giving us this Savior, by whose birth we are delivered from sin, death, Satan, and hell; and we humbly ask You, keep us until the end in true knowledge of our Redeemer, that, with all the holy angels, we may rejoice at His nativity and behold Him, together with You and the Holy Spirit, in glory and majesty, now and forever.  Amen.


The Christmas Tree reminds us that Jesus is the Tree of Life.

So, is the use of the Christmas Tree by Christians simply the following of an ancient, or not so ancient pagan ritual and worship?    Should we cease displaying the Christmas Tree?    The answer is “NO!”    As Christians, the Christmas Tree holds great historical and theological significance.    The Tree is there to remind us of Jesus who is the Tree of Life.   The ornaments we place on the branches of this tree remind us of the fruit of the Works of Jesus given as gifts to us sinners to enjoy:

  • His keeping of the Law in our place,
  • His suffering the horror and agony of hell in our place,
  • His glorious resurrection which proves to us that God the Father has accepted the Works of Christ on our behalf.

So I bid you as your pastor, teach the history and mystery of the Christmas Tree to your children and grandchildren.   Gather them around the Tree on Christmas morning and let them see Jesus and the golden ornaments of His life and death.    Let them look at the lights and learn that Jesus is the Light which has come into the world to rescue fallen sinners.   Point them to the Star on the top of the tree which is there to remind us that God provided a Savior leading the Magi to the Manger of Christ, just as God provides us the star of His Word and Sacrament to guide us to the Cross of Christ.   Dear Christian, this is the meaning of the Christmas Tree for us.     A most blessed Christmas to all of you.




Pastor: Let us bow before the Lord and confess our sins.


Congregation: O Almighty God, merciful Father, I, a poor miserable sinner, confess to You all my sins and iniquities with which I have ever offended You and justly deserve Your temporal and eternal punishment.   But I am heartedly sorry for them and sincerely repent of them, and I pray You of Your boundless mercy and for the sake of the holy, innocent, bitter sufferings and death of Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ to be gracious and merciful to me a poor sinful being.


Pastor:  Upon this your confession, I , by virtue of my office as a called and ordained servant of the Word, announce the grace of God unto all of you, and in the stead and by the command of our Lord Jesus Christ I forgive you all your sins, in the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.



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We bring this Christmas Day to a close by singing the great hymn composed by Pastor Joseph Mohr, Silent Night.

Closing Hymn:   140    Silent Night.

F.J. Mohr: 1792-1848


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,

Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia,

Christ, the Savior, is born!   Christ, the Savior, is born!


A most blessed Christmas to all.