The Wartburg Project

C18 Lessons and Carols Service

Occasional Services


First Lesson

Genesis 1:1-5, 26-28, 3:1-7

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was undeveloped and empty. Darkness covered the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

3God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4God saw that the light was good. He separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” There was evening and there was morning—the first day.

26God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that crawls on the earth.”

27God created the man in his own image.

In the image of God he created him.

Male and female he created them.

28God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

3:1Now the serpent was more clever than any wild animal which the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Has God really said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees of the garden, 3but not from the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden. God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it. You shall not touch it, or else you will die.’”

4The serpent said to the woman, “You certainly will not die. 5In fact, God knows that the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was appealing to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate. She gave some also to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7The eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for their waists.

Second Lesson

John 3:16–21

16“For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18The one who believes in him is not condemned, but the one who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. 19This is the basis for the judgment: The light has come into the world, yet people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. 20In fact, everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, or else his deeds would be exposed. 21But the one who does what is true comes toward the light, in order that his deeds may be seen as having been done in connection with God.”

Third Lesson

Joel 2:1-3, 10-13

Blow the ram’s horn in Zion.

Sound the alarm on my holy mountain.

Let all who live in the land tremble with fear,

for the Day of the Lord is coming.

It is close at hand—

2a day of darkness and gloom,

a day of clouds and frightening darkness.

Description of the Locust Army

Like dawn spreading across the mountains,

a large and mighty people is coming.

There has been nothing like it from ancient times,

nor will there ever be again for generations to come.

3In front of them, fire devours.

Behind them, a flame blazes.

In front of them, the land is like the Garden of Eden.

Behind them, it is a desolate wilderness.

There is no escaping them.

10In front of them the earth quakes.

The sky shudders.

The sun and moon become dark,

and the stars stop shining.

11The Lord shouts at the head of his army.

His forces are very numerous,

and those who obey his command are powerful.

The Day of the Lord is great. It is terrifying.

Who can endure it?

12Even now, declares the Lord,

return to me with all your heart,

with fasting and weeping and grief.

13Tear your heart and not your clothing.

Return to the Lord your God,

for he is gracious and compassionate,

slow to anger and abounding in mercy,

and he relents from sending disaster.

Fourth Lesson

1 John 1:5–9

5This is the message we heard from him and proclaim to you: God is light. In him there is no darkness at all. 6If we say we have fellowship with him but still walk in darkness, we are lying and do not put the truth into practice. 7But if we walk in the light, just as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 8If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Fifth Lesson

Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation—

whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life—

of whom shall I be afraid?

2When evildoers advance against me to eat my flesh,

when my foes and my enemies come against me,

it is they who will stumble and fall.

3If an army lines up against me, my heart will not fear.

If war rises against me, even then I will keep trusting.

4One thing I ask from the Lord. This is what I seek:

that I live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,

to gaze on the beauty of the Lord,

and to seek him in his temple.

5Yes, he will hide me in his shelter on the day of trouble.

He will hide me in his tent.

He will set me high on a rock.

6Then my head will be lifted up above the enemies who surround me.

I will offer sacrifices at his tent with a joyful shout.

I will sing and make music to the Lord.

7Hear me, O Lord. With my voice I call.

Be merciful to me and answer me.

8When you say, “Seek my face,” my heart says to you,

“Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

9Do not hide your face from me.

Do not turn your servant away in anger. You have been my help.

Do not reject me or forsake me, O God who saves me.

10If my father and my mother abandoned me,

the Lord would take me in.

11Lord, teach me your way,

and lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.

12Do not give me up to the desire of my foes,

because false witnesses rise up against me,

and so do those who breathe out violence.

13Unless I was confident to see the goodness of the Lord

in the land of the living—

14Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart,

and wait for the Lord!

Sixth Lesson

Isaiah 9:2-7

2The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.

For those living in the land of the shadow of death, the light has dawned.

3You have multiplied the nation. You have increased its joy.

They rejoice before you like the joy at harvest time,

like the celebration when people divide the plunder.

4For you have shattered the yoke that burdened them.

You have broken the bar on their shoulders and

the rod of their oppressor,

as you did in the day of Midian.

5Every boot that marched in battle

and the garments rolled in blood will be burned.

They will be fuel for the fire.

6For to us a child is born.

To us a son is given.

The authority to rule will rest on his shoulders.

He will be named:

Wonderful Counselor,

Mighty God,

Everlasting Father,

Prince of Peace.

7There will be no limit to his authority

and no end to the peace he brings.

He will rule on David’s throne and over his kingdom,

to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness

from now on, into eternity.

The zeal of the Lord of Armies will accomplish this.

Seventh Lesson

Luke 2:1-20

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3And everyone went to register, each to his own town. 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the town of Nazareth, into Judea, to the town of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was from the house and family line of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, his wife, who was pledged to him in marriage and was expecting a child.

6And so it was that while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son, wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8There were in the same country shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified! 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. For behold, I bring you good news of great joy, which will be for all people: 11Today in the town of David, a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude from the heavenly army, praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward mankind.”

15When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Now let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they told others the message they had been told about this child. 18And all who heard it were amazed by what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.