Everything you need for December 20 online worship.
“The Twelve Days of Christmas” is an English Christmas carol that lists a group of increasingly superb gifts given on each of the 12 days of Christmas (the 12 days that make up the Christmas season, starting with Christmas Day). The song, published in England in 1780 without music as a chant or rhyme, is thought to be French in origin. The melodies of collected versions of the carol vary throughout history. The standard tune now associated with it is derived from a 1909 arrangement of a traditional folk melody by English composer Frederic Austin.
Some have aligned the 12 gifts spoken of the in the song with Christian symbols and teaching. Whether it was purposefully disguised to teach within the song is unknown. But we can certainly learn something about our God and the Son he sends by looking at these gifts.
Preparations for Worship:
- Do your best to eliminate distractions like the phone, TV, etc.
- Worship actively! Whether you are by yourself or with others, try reading the parts of the service aloud (responses, lessons, and prayers).
- This service is for children too. Help them participate. Ask those who have that ability to read a prayer or lesson aloud. Take a moment to describe what’s happening. Ask questions. Encourage little ones to draw what they are hearing while you all listen. Unlike our more typical Sunday worship at church, you can pause at any time for questions and discussion.
- Before you begin, load each of the videos below. (You might first have to get past a distracting ad.)
- Pause for a moment of quiet meditation. Then pray:
“Heavenly Father, I have come to worship you. Draw near to me in your gracious Word, and assure me of your loving kindness. Curb my wandering thoughts, that with undivided attention I may hear your voice and speak your praise. Through Jesus Christ. Amen.”
12 DRUMMERS DRUMMING
The “12 Drummers Drumming” are the 12 points of the Apostle’s Creed. Until Martin Luther’s time the Apostle’s Creed was divided up into 12 points instead of 3 sections. Each point drums out an important truth of the message of salvation. Let us confess the message of salvation, God’s gift to us. We will do this with the 12 points of the Apostle’s Creed, a summary of the Gospel in God’s Word.
1. I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
3. who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary,
4. suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
5. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead.
6. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
7. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
8. I believe in the Holy Spirit,
9. the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints,
10. the forgiveness of sins,
11. the resurrection of the body,
12. and the life everlasting. Amen.
ELEVEN PIPERS PIPING
The “11 Pipers Piping” are the 11 disciples whom Christ first commissioned to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. According to tradition, they all were faithful in their work. All died for Christ, and John, the beloved, was thrown into prison for him. Although they died for their Lord, they were successful in getting the Gospel out. We are proof that God did indeed bless their work. Let us give thanks for the disciples and all who spread the Good News in prayer.
Lord Jesus, you called disciples to follow you. You gave them instruction and sent them out with your message of law and gospel, sin and grace. Thank you for their mission and work. Allow us to also be your disciples, learning from you and growing in our faith so we might be equipped to share our faith as you want us to do. Amen.
TEN LORDS A LEAPING
The “10 Lords-A-Leaping” are the ten commandments of the Lord. As we consider God’s law we see clearly that we are in need of a Savior. Let us confess our sins to him and plead for his mercy.
We have come into the presence of God, who created us to love and serve him as his dear children. But we have disobeyed him and deserve only his wrath and punishment. Therefore, let us confess our sins to him and plead for his mercy.
Merciful Father in heaven, I am altogether sinful from birth. In countless ways I have sinned against you and do not deserve to be called your child. But trusting in Jesus, my Savior, I pray: Have mercy on me according to your unfailing love. Cleanse me from my sin, and take away my guilt.
God, our heavenly Father, has forgiven all your sins. By the perfect life and innocent death of our Lord Jesus Christ, he has removed your guilt forever. You are his own dear child. May God give you strength to live according to his will. Amen.
LESSON – 2 SAMUEL 7:8-16
You are also to say the following to my servant David. This is what the Lord of Armies says. I took you from the pasture, from following sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you went. I have cut off all your enemies from before you. I will make your reputation great, like that of the great ones on the earth. 10 I will set up a place for my people Israel, and I will plant them there. They will dwell there, and they will not be disturbed again. Violent men will not afflict them again as they did at the beginning 11 and ever since the day I appointed judges over my people Israel. I will give you rest from all your enemies. The Lord also declares to you that the Lord himself will make a house for you. 12 When your days are complete and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up after you your seed, who will come from your own body. I will establish his kingdom. 13 He will build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he sins, I will discipline him with a rod used by men and with blows of the sons of men. 15 My faithful mercy will not depart from him as I removed it from Saul, whom I removed to make room for you. 16 Your house will stand firm, and your kingdom will endure forever before you. Your throne will be established forever.
LESSON – ROMANS 16:25-27
Now to him who is able to strengthen you—according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was veiled in silence for long ages past, 26 but now has been revealed through the prophetic Scriptures and made known to all the Gentiles, in keeping with the command of the eternal God, resulting in the obedience of faith—27 to God, who alone is wise, be glory forever through Jesus Christ. Amen.
NINE LADIES DANCING
These nine dancers were really the gifts known as the fruit of the Spirit. The fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the spirit, let us also walk in step with it.
EIGHT MAIDS A MILKING
As Christ came to save even the lowest of the low, this gift represents the ones who would receive his word and accept his grace. Jesus cares as much about servants as he does those of royal blood.
The eight who were blessed included the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
LESSON – MATTHEW 5:3-10
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
because theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
because they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the gentle,
because they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
because they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
because they will receive mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
because they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
because they will be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
because theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
SEVEN SWANS A SWIMMING
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are: prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, and compassion. As swans are one of the most beautiful and graceful creatures on earth, they would seem to be a perfect symbol for the spiritual gifts.
LESSON – ISAIAH 11:1-3
A shoot will spring up from the stump of Jesse, and a Branch from his roots will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him:
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
3 He will be delighted with the fear of the Lord.
SIX GEESE A LAYING
The Lord has done marvelous things. Not only has he created the world in 6 days which the “6 Geese-A-Laying” represent, but he has accomplished salvation for us.
Six days you are to serve and do all your regular work, 10 but the seventh day shall be a sabbath rest to the Lord your God. Do not do any regular work, neither you, nor your sons or daughters, nor your male or female servants, nor your cattle, nor the alien who is residing inside your gates, 11 for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. In this way the Lord blessed the seventh day and made it holy.
FIVE GOLDEN RINGS
The “5 Golden Rings” are the first books of the Bible known as the Pentateuch. In these five books we first hear of the marvelous things of God. We hear of his Creation, his Law, and his Gospel.
LESSON – NEHEMIAH 9:13-15
You came down on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven. You gave them upright judgments and true laws, good statutes and commandments. 14 You made known to them your holy Sabbath. You gave them commandments, statutes, and the Law, by the hand of your servant Moses. 15 You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger, and you made water come out of a rock for their thirst. Then you told them to go and take possession of the land that you swore to give them.
FOUR CALLING BIRDS
The “4 Calling Birds” are the 4 Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. On these pages of Scripture we see that our Lord became one of us to be our substitute.
LESSON – LUKE 1:26-38
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin pledged in marriage to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.” 29 But she was greatly troubled by the statement and was wondering what kind of greeting this could be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, because you have found favor with God. 31 Listen, you will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus. 32 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. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered her, “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. 36 Listen, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age even though she was called barren, and this is her sixth month. 37 For nothing will be impossible for God.” 38 Then Mary said, “See, I am the Lord’s servant. May it happen to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
THREE FRENCH HENS
The “3 French hens” are the faith, hope, and love found in 1 Corinthians 13. We will give thanks for them in our prayer of the church.
TWO TURTLE DOVES
The “2 turtle doves” are Old Testament and New Testament of the Holy Bible. We will give thanks for them in our prayer of the church.
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH
O Most High, You have favored us in the incarnation of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of Mary. In everything, let it be to us according to Your Word.
Give us faith to believe that nothing is impossible with You, and so to pray boldly in childlike confidence.
Lord Jesus, you show compassion to all. Give us hearts with your compassion for all those who have special needs. Open our eyes to them and bless the work of our churches as we reach out and share the message of salvation with them.
May this gospel message serve as a bridge to a deeper fellowship and a stronger connection with these brothers and sisters in Christ.
O Most High, Look with compassion on the lonely, the depressed and the despairing. Grant healing to the sick, and give peace to the anxious and dying.
Comfort all who mourn with the certain hope of the resurrection.
O Most High, we give You thanks for our Lord Jesus Christ, who by His death opened the kingdom of heaven and closed the gates of hell for all who trust in Him. through the same Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray…
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.
DEVOTION – PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE
THE LORD’S BLESSING
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. Amen.