Julotta and more Christmas Services planned at Andover churches

Claudia Loucks
The Rev. Reed Pedersen, on the ladder, pastor at Augustana Lutheran Church in Andover; Noah Green, Emmett Green, Brynlee and Brock Peterson and Sunday School teacher Jenna Zurcher are shown decorating a Christmas tree in the Augustana Lutheran Church in Andover.

The 170th Julotta, an early morning Christmas service, will be held at 7 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 25, at Augustana Lutheran Church in Andover.

The Julotta is considered a “staple,” and the longest ongoing tradition of the church congregation.

The service begins in candlelight darkness by the congregation singing “Silent Night,” and concludes with the dawn of Christmas morning.

An anthem will be sung in Swedish, and the liturgy and sermon by the Rev. Reed Pedersen, pastor at Augustana Lutheran Church, will be in English. Rev. Pedersen also will provide a musical offering of “Light of the World,” by Lauren Daigle.

The Julotta service is held in a setting similar to that used by the then Swedish congregation in the 1870’s when the “new” church building was completed to replace the overcrowded first structure, which was later named the Jenny Lind Chapel.

Candles will illuminate the sanctuary, and a large Christmas tree adorns the front. The original[ street lamps, which were found in the church basement in 1981, will once again glow as they did in the 1800’s to greet people as they arrive at the church.

A family Christmas Eve service will be held at 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 24, at Augustana Church and will include a children’s sermon, carols, organ and instrumental music.

The Community Christmas Eve Service will be held at 11 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 24, in the candle-lit Jenny Lind Chapel. Rev. Pedersen will provide a musical offering of “O Holy Night.” Piano and guitar accompaniment for the service will be presented by Nathan and Nick Swanson.

An unadorned Christmas tree and 100 candles are placed in the Chapel to portray what it was like in the 1850’s.

All three Christmas Eve services will include communion.

The service on Sunday, Dec. 26, will be online worship only. The Julotta and Family Christmas services will be live streamed at

Augustana Church in Andover, which was organized in 1850, is the mother church of the former Augustana Lutheran Church in America. The first structure was completed in 1854. It later was named the Jenny Lind Chapel, now a ministry of the Northern Illinois Synod-ELCA. The current structure was built in the late 1860’s and was called “The Cathedral on the Prairie.”