Community of Christ

Christmas Eve Ideas

Candlelight Worship

Prelude

Instrumental Introit: "O Come, All Ye Faithful"

Welcome

Call to Worship:

Leader:  In those days a decree went out that a census should be taken. And Joseph went up from Nazareth to Bethlehem to be registered there with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have the baby.

People:  We, too, want to be counted among God’s chosen people. Tonight we have come from our homes to this holy place. Jesus will soon be born again; now the time has come for us to receive him.

*Hymn: "O Come, O Come Emmanuel"  CCS 394 OR “Tomorrow Christ Is Coming”  CCS 406

*Invocation

*Response

Lighting of the Advent Candles (see notes at end of the outline)

HOPE Reading (Note 1 below)

Testimony of Hope
Prayer for Hope
Hymn: "Canticle of the Turning” CCS 404

PEACE Reading (Note 1)
Testimony of Peace
Prayer of Peace
Hymn: "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" CCS 415
OR “Peace Child” CCS 402

LOVE Reading (Note 1)
"Cradle and Cross" (Note 2)
Prayer of Love
Hymn of Preparation: "Lo, How a Rose E’er Booming”  CCS 437
Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper (Note 3)

JOY Reading (Note 1)
Testimony of Joy
Prayer of Joy
Hymn: "God’s Love Made Visible”  CCS 411

CHRIST Reading (Note 1)
Sung Advent Response (Note 4)
Telling the Christmas Story (Note 5)

Children’s Moment

Candlelighting Ceremony (Note 6)

*Ministry of Music OR Hymn: "What Child Is This” CCS 432

*Prayer of Christmas Blessing  

*Response: "Silent Night" (Note 7)   CCS 421 (stanza 1 only)

*Postlude  


Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship Notes

Note 1: Each reader reads the statement below and lights an Advent candle.

HOPE:   As we light the Advent candle of HOPE, we come to celebrate Christ’s birth. To celebrate Christmas is to hope, to remember, and to prepare for something great to happen. May we become a people of hope in the midst of our world.

PEACE:  We light the Advent candle of PEACE and thank our eternal God for sending the Prince of Peace into our world and offering us peace. May we also be givers of peace when we, like the wise men, still worship our king.

LOVE:   We light the Advent candle of LOVE and remember that God came to us in love through Jesus Christ. We look forward to celebrating his birthday with a new sense of love for each other. "Let us love one another, for love is of God."

JOY:   As we light the Advent candle of JOY, may we too sense the excitement in the air. May we feel joy in our lives and share it with those around us. Help us to have the joy that does not depend upon earthly happiness, but instead depends upon our gracious God.

CHRIST:  We light the CHRIST candle to tell us that Jesus is born. Tomorrow is Christmas, a day of gifts and love and laughter. We do all this because of the baby Jesus, the greatest gift of all. For 2,000 years, saints through the ages have celebrated Emmanuel, God-with-us, and we join with believers all over the world in celebrating Christ’s birth. Let us walk together in HOPE, PEACE, LOVE, and JOY in the light of God that shines in Christ.

Note 2: "Cradle and Cross" is from Table Talk, edited by Jane McAvoy (Chalice Press), 20."I Wonder as I Wander" is sung with a dramatic enactment of Mary carrying baby Jesus as a robed person carries a cross; a meditation statement is included as preparation for the Lord’s Supper.

Note 3: If the Lord’s Supper is not served, "Cradle and Cross" could be replaced with an additional testimony of seeing love during the Christmas season.

Note 4: Sing to the tune of "Away in a Manger"

A candle is burning, a flame warm and bright
A candle of HOPE in December’s dark night
Like Mary we sing praises to the Lord God, most high
Our hearts we prepare now, for Jesus is nigh

A candle is burning, a candle of PEACE
A candle to signal that conflict must cease
For Jesus is coming to show us the way
A message of peace humbly laid in the hay

A candle is burning, a candle of LOVE
A candle to point us to heaven above
A baby for Christmas, a wonderful birth
For Jesus is bringing God’s love to the earth

A candle is burning, a candle of JOY
A candle to welcome brave Mary’s new boy
Our hearts fill with wonder and eyes light and glow
As joy brightens winter like sunshine on snow

We honor Messiah with the CHRIST candle’s flame
Our Christmas Eve candles glad tidings proclaim
O come, all ye faithful, rejoice in this night
As God comes among us, the Christians’ true light

Note 5: As a children’s moment, read the Christmas story from Luke 2, perhaps using flannelgraph, or "Tell Me"could be sung (includes the reading of Luke 2: 7–13 during the song).

Note 6: Everyone in the congregation receives a small candle and comes forward to light it with the Christ candle, while forming a circle for the closing prayer.

Note 7: "Silent Night" is sung as the congregation exits the sanctuary. The candles are extinguished.

We encourage all who have original materials they have used successfully in their own congregations to send copies to Worship Ministries.

Festival of Scripture and Carols

Introit: "Of the Father's Love Begotten" CCS 27

(Choir sings this from the foyer)

Advent Candle Service

"Peace on Earth" by Ann Weems (Kneeling in Bethlehem, published by The Westminster Press)

The presider goes to the altar and, using the small candle on the altar, lights the Christmas candle from the Peace candle.

Processional: "O Come, All Ye Faithful"  CCS 431

Verse 1-unison choir; verse 2, choir and organ; verse 3 choir, organ and congregation, with soprano descant 

Invocation

Scripture: Isaiah 40:1-5, 9

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness. Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make strait in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain; And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it....O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringeth good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

Carol: "Masters in This Hall" - Choir (traditional French carol - numerous arrangements available) OR “Comfort, Comfort Now Now My People”  CCS 407

Scripture: Mosiah 1:97, 102, 109

For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven, among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay....He shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things, from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary....The Lord God hath sent his holy prophets among all the children of men to declare these things to every kindred, nation, and tongue, that thereby whosoever should believe that Christ should come, the same might receive remission of their sins, and rejoice with exceedingly great joy, even as though he had already come among them.

Carol: "Come, Thou Long-expected Jesus'  CCS 400 OR On Jordan’s Banks the Baptist’s Cry CCS 391

Scripture: Isaiah 9:2, 6-7

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined....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, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there is no end, with the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Carol: "View the Present through the Promise”   CCS 401

Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-5

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots; And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears; But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

Carol: "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" (may be sung by choir)  CCS 437

Scripture: Luke 1:26-35

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God, unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth. To a virgin, espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her and said, Hail, thou virgin, who art highly favored of the Lord. The Lord is with thee, for thou art chosen and blessed among women. And when she saw the angel, she was troubled at his saying, and pondered in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favor with God. And behold, thou shalt conceive, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel; How can this be? And the angel answered and said unto her, of the Holy Ghost, and the power of the Highest. Therefore, also, that holy child that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Carol: "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel"  (may be sung by choir) CCS 394

Scripture: Luke 2:1-7

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all of his empire should be taxed. This same taxing was when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. And all went to be taxed, everyone in his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David,) To be taxed, with Mary his espoused wife, she being great with child. And so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was none to give room for them in the inns.

Carol: "O Holy Night" - Choir (numerous arrangements are available)

Scripture: Luke 2:8-18

And there were in the same country, shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, an angel of the Lord appeared unto them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. But the angel said unto them, Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this is the way you shall find the babe, he is wrapped in swaddling clothes, and is lying in a manger. 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; goodwill to men. And it came to pass, when the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go, even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord has made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. All they who heard it, wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

Carol: "O Leave Your Sheep" - Choir (An SATB arrangement by Thorburn is available through Theodore Presser Co.) OR “The First Noel”    CCS 424

Scripture: Matthew 3:1-11

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the King, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem. Saying, Where is the child that is born, the Messiah of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard of the child, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests, and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them, saying, Where is the place that is written of by the prophets, in which Christ should be born? For he greatly feared, yet he believed not the prophets. And they said unto him, It is written by the prophets, that he should be born in Bethlehem of Judea, for thus have they said, The word of the Lord came unto us, saying, And thou Bethlehem, which lieth in the land of Judea, in thee shall be born a prince, which art not the least among the princes of Judea; for out of thee shall come the Messiah, who shall save my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had called the wise men privily, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found the child, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and lo, the star which they saw in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child, with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshiped him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Carol: " Hope Is A Light”  CCS 398

Scripture: I Nephi 3:70-79, 82-87

And the angel said unto me: Look and behold the condescension of God. And I looked and beheld the Redeemer of the world...; And I also beheld the prophet which should prepare the way before him; And the Lamb of God went forth and was baptized of him; and the Holy Ghost came down out of heaven and abode upon Him in the form of a dove; And I beheld that he went forth ministering unto the people in power and great glory; And the multitudes were gathered together to hear Him; And I beheld that they cast Him out from among them; and I also beheld twelve others following Him....And I looked and I beheld the Lamb of God going forth among the children of men; And I beheld multitudes of people which were sick and which were afflicted of all manner of diseases and with devils and with unclean spirits;...And they were healed by the power of the Lamb of God. And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people, Yea, the Everlasting God was judged of the world, And I...saw that He was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world.

Hymn: "We Would See Jesus"  CCS 35

Scripture: Mosiah 8:28-34

I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people; And because he dwelleth in flesh, he shall be called the Son of God; And having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son--the Father because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son; And they are one God, yea, the very eternal Father of heaven and earth. And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation and yieldeth not to temptation, But suffereth Himself to be mocked and scourged and cast out and disowned by his People. And after all this, and after working many mighty miracles among the children of men, He shall be led, yea, even as Isaiah said, As a sheep before the shearer is dumb, so He opened not his mouth. Yea, even so He shall be led, crucified and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son swallowed up in the will of the Father.

Hymn: "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”  CCS 13

During the singing of this hymn, the Communion emblems should be prepared.

Scripture: Matthew 26:22-25

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread and broke it, and blessed it, and gave to his disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is in remembrance of my body which I give a ransom for you. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave to them, saying, Drink ye all of it. For this is in remembrance of my blood of the new testament, which is shed for as many as shall believe on my name, for the remission of their sins. And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall observe to do the things which ye have seen me do, and bear record of me even unto the end.

Prayer of Blessing on the Bread

Serving of the Bread

During the serving, congregation or choir sings "Bread of the World"   CCS 527

Prayer of Blessing on the Wine

Serving of the Wine

During the serving, congregation or choir sings "God Almighty, We Are Waiting”   CCS 397

Scripture: Mosiah 8:35-47

And thus God breaketh the bands of death; having gained the victory over death; giving the Son power to make intercession for the children of men; Having ascended into heaven; having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion toward the children of men; Standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of death, taken upon himself their iniquity and their transgressions; having redeemed them, and satisfied the demands of justice. And now I say unto you, Who shall declare his generation?...When his soul has been made an offering for sin, he shall see his seed....And who shall be his seed?...All those who have hearkened unto their words, and believed that the Lord would redeem his people, and have looked forward to that day for a remission of their sins; I say unto you, that these are his seed....They are heirs of the kingdom of God. For these are they whose sins he has borne; these are they for whom he has died to redeem them from their transgressions. And now, are they not his seed? Yea, and are not the prophets, every one that has opened his mouth to prophesy, that has not fallen into transgression, I mean all the holy prophets ever since the world began? I say unto you that they are his seed; and these are they who have published peace, who have brought good tidings of good, who have published salvation; and said unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Carol: "Hope Is A Light”  CCS 398

Anthem: "There Shall a Star from Jacob Come Forth" - Mendelssohn (An SATB arrangement is available from Hinshaw Music.)

Recessional: "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing"   CCS 423

Benediction

Response: "Wait for the Lord” -  Choir in the foyer CCS 399

Come Lord Jesus

Prelude

Musical Call to Worship

"O Come, All Ye Faithful"  CCS 431

"Angels from the Realms of Glory" CCS 436

Lighting of the Advent Candles/Season of Prayer and Testimony

Reader 1: Isaiah 9:2 Light candle.

Presider: Christ is our hope and our light in the darkness! Please join me now, as I pray for hope in the world. Offer brief prayer.

Reader 2: Isaiah 9:6 Light candle.

Presider: Christ is our peace! Are there two people who would offer prayers for peace? Two brief prayers from the congregation

Reader 3: Isaiah 44:22 Light candle.

Presider: Christ is our salvation, God’s love and made visible! I have asked three people to share statements concerning their need for Christ’s love in their lives. Three brief statements

Reader 4: Isaiah 44:23 Light candle.

Presider: Christ is our joy and our redemption! Join with me in a corporate prayer by saying aloud together one word or phrase describing what you are thankful for. I will begin the prayer and when I nod we will all insert our word or phrase. "O God, we bring you praise and thanks for...."

Reader 5: Christmas has come. It has really come again! As we light the Christ candle which stands in the center of our wreath, we know Christ makes possible our hope, our peace, our joy, and our life.

We pray,

Come, Lord Jesus!

Come, Lord Jesus!

Light Christ candle.

Presider: Christ is the Word of God revealed! I have asked a pre-designated person to offer a prayer thanking God for the gift of Jesus Christ.

Lower the lights as much as possible for the singing of the next hymn. Keep enough light for people to be able to see the words.

Hymn: "Silent Night! Holy Night!"   CCS 421  OR “Star Child” CCS 420

Christmas Eve Message

Silent Prayers

For the realization of love, joy, hope, and peace in our world

Ministry of Music: "O Holy Night" OR Hymn: "Infant Holy, Infant Lowly" CCS 416

Candle Lighting

As music is sung, have the congregation come forward for each person to light a candle from the flame of the Christ candle and then form a circle around the perimeter of the sanctuary. Use care with the candle flames and hot wax.

Benediction

Offer as the congregation stands in the circle with lit candles.

 Postlude

O Come All Ye Faithful

Worship Setting: Advent wreath with unlit candles

Prelude
Welcome

Call to Worship

Joseph went up to Judaea from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to register in the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was of the house of David by descent; and with him went Mary, his betrothed, who was expecting her child. While they were there the time came for her to have her baby, and she gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them at the inn.   —Luke 2:4–7 Revised English Bible

*Opening Hymn: "O Come, All Ye Faithful"  CCS 431 OR "Canticle of the Turning”  CCS 401

*Invocation

*Response

Calling Peace into the World

We call forth peace into the world with words from Zechariah:

Daughter of Zion, rejoice with all your heart;
shout in triumph, daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king is coming to you,
his cause won, his victory gained,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
He will banish the chariot from Ephraim,
the war-horse from Jerusalem;
the warrior’s bow will be banished,
and he will proclaim peace to the nations.
—Zechariah 9:9–10 Revised English Bible

Light the candle of peace.

Prayer for Peace—Prayers of the People

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the way of peace. Come into the brokenness of our lives and our land with your healing love.

The People Pray in Silence.

Help us to be willing to bow before you in true repentance, and to bow to one another in real forgiveness. By the fire of your Holy Spirit, melt our hard hearts and consume the pride and prejudice that separate us.

The People Pray in Silence.

Fill us, O Lord, with your perfect love which casts out fear and bind us together in the unity that you share with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

The People Pray in Silence.

We pray for the ecumenical initiatives and all occasions that bring together Christians of different traditions. We remember all peoples of Earth. May they learn peace in this age and on this day.

The People Pray in Silence.

We thank you and praise you, Lord Jesus, for love that sustains us, for wisdom that directs us, and for desire that beckons us toward peace in our world.

The People Pray in Silence.

At this special season of Advent, we remember our private concerns. Hear our petitions we humbly ask.

The People Pray in Silence.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

—Prayers and Readings for Worship, volume 2, Peter Judd, ed. (Herald House, 1996), 44.

Hymn: "Hope Is a Light”  CCS 398 OR "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" CCS 423

Calling Hope into the World

We call forth hope into the world with words from Jeremiah:

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your
welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.
—Jeremiah 29:11

Light the candle of hope.

Hymn: "Infant Holy, Infant Lowly"  CCS 416 OR "Away in a Manger"  CCS 425/426

Readings on Hope 

Reader 1: Sing songs of joy, For the King has come! Sing joy, sing joy For the baby Born to bring us hope.

Reader 2: But I will hope continually, and will praise you yet more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all day long, though their number is past my knowledge.  —Psalm 71:14–15

People:  I know I’ll praise God once again, for you are my Deliverance; you are my God. —Psalm 42:5b The Inclusive Psalms

Reader 1: Read stanza 1 of "All Earth Is Hopeful" CCS 392.

Reader 2: But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."
—Lamentations 3:21–24

People: I know I’ll praise God once again, for you are my Deliverance; you are my God.—Psalm 42:5b The Inclusive New Testament

Calling Joy into the World

We call forth joy into the world with the words of the angels: Luke 2:8–14

Light the candle of joy.

Hymn Sing:

"Angels from the Realms of Glory”  CCS 436
"Silvery Star, Precious Star”   CCS 419
"Go, Tell It on the Mountain"  CCS 409

Calling Love into the World

We call forth love into the world with the words of Apostle John: John 3:16–17 IV

Light the candle of love.

Hymn: "View the Present through the Promise”  CCS 401 OR "Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming"  CCS 437

Prayer of Blessing

Calling Christ into Our Hearts

The Story Begins: Matthew 1:20b–24

Hymn "Of the Father’s Love Begotten"  CCS 27 OR "What Child Is This”  CCS 432

Monologue: "Mary, the Waiting Ends . . . and Begins" (see below)

*Congregational Carol: "Silent Night! Holy Night!"  CCS 421

As the hymn is sung, the presider lights his/her candle from the Christ candle. S/He lights the candle of the other participants who, in turn, light the candles of people on the ends of the rows near the center aisle. These people light the candle of the person next to them, who light the next one, passing the flame until all candles are lit. Dim the sanctuary lights as the candles are lit.

*Benediction

*Response

*Recessional


Mary, the Waiting Ends . . . and Begins

by Mikal Shedd

Joseph enters, spreads some straw, places a blanket on the ground, and exits again. Mary enters, very pregnant, exhausted, and panting slightly. She sits with a sigh, holding her back.

Lord, my soul still magnifies your name, but my body wishes you had made fluffier donkeys.

She sighs again and rests her hands on her knees as she looks around.

This is actually quite nice. It was such a mess when we first came in, but now the straw is dry and clean.

She looks up.

Your son will be here by morning, Lord. I wondered at your timing when I realized about a mile outside of town that he was coming, but I knew you would provide.

Poor Joseph. I did try to hide it from him, but one pain caught me unaware and I cried out. Joseph looked up at me and I nodded. I thought for a moment our donkey would have to carry us both, but Joseph set his jaw in that determined way he has and pressed on faster.
Bethlehem is so crowded! Every room must be taken. Some people are sleeping in the streets!

At the last inn on the edge of town, we knocked. The doorman cracked the door open, said, "No room," and started to shut it again, but Joseph was wonderful. He forced the door open and said, "My wife is giving birth. We must have a place now!"

The innkeeper heard and quickly led us out back to the stables. He said he would send his wife with water. He said she is a good midwife.

She lights the Christ candle.

As I came into the stable just now, I saw a beautiful star. It shone among the other stars as this candle shines among the others. O Yahweh, let it be the symbol of the light you are sending into the world. May it shine its light on our way, and may we all find it leads to you.

Sanctuary of God's Peace

Fill the room with soft candlelight. The four candles of Advent are lit before the congregation arrives. This is a service of waiting and anticipation with the joy and assurance that Jesus will be born in our lives. Participants should represent the diversity of the congregation.

Following this service outline, you will find the text for each scripture reading and the Sending Forth statement. All biblical scriptures in this outline are adapted from or based on the NRSV.

Preparation for Worship: “O Holy Night”

Use a soloist, CD, or instrumental group.

Call to Worship

Reading: Isaiah 11:1–9

Prayer

Response

With Mary We Are Waiting

Reading: Luke 1:26–33, 46–48, 56

Hymn: “Silent Night! Holy Night!”  CCS 421

With the Shepherds We Are Tending Our Fields

Reading: Luke 2:8–20

Hymns:
“Infant Holy, Infant Lowly”  CCS 416
“Wait for the Lord”  CCS 399

With the Wise Men We Are Watching for Signs of His Coming

Reading: Matthew 2:1–11

Hymn: “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”  CCS 400

We Bring Our Gifts

Hymn: “What Child Is This”  CCS 432

With the World We Are Praying for the Peaceable Kingdom

Reading: Isaiah 9:6–7

Hymn: “Peace Child”  CCS 402

Prayer for Peace on Earth

Hymn: “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”  CCS 434

With Jesus We Are Growing in Our Discipleship

Scripture: Doctrine and Covenants 163:11a

*Hymn: “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”  CCS 415 OR “Comfort, Comfort Now My People”  CCS 407

*Prayer for Our Discipleship

*Response

*Sending Forth

This reading is from John and I Peter.

*Postlude


Christmas Eve Readings

Call to Worship

Pianist can play “Silent Night” quietly to provide background for this reading.

Reading

Come and Worship. Watch and wait. In a stable a child will be born. He will be called Jesus, Messiah, Promise of the Prophets, Our Salvation. He will be Emmanuel, the revelation of God with us. He will be Christ, Son of God. Come and worship. Watch and wait while the world labors to birth the Christ, God come down.

Isaiah 11:1–9 adapted

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall 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, and he shall stand as a signal to the peoples. On that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that is left of his people. The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.
Come and worship. Watch and wait together. We wait for the birth of the child who will lead us into the world’s salvation, the peaceable kingdom of God on earth.

With Mary We Are Waiting

Luke 1:26–33, 46–48, 56 adapted

In the sixth month (of her cousin Elizabeth’s pregnancy with John) the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.” And Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and then returned to her home. And like all mothers waiting for the birth of their child, Mary waited, considering the wonderful things that she had heard.

We have heard the prophets, we have heard the angel, and we, too, have seen the power of God working in wonderful and mysterious ways. Now we watch and wait together. We wait for the birth of the child who will lead us into the world’s salvation, the peaceable kingdom of God on earth.

With the Shepherds We Are Tending Our Fields

Based on Luke 2:8–20

We are like shepherds, tending to our lives as if in the dark, often unthinking, sometimes caught up in our culture without judgment or wisdom. As we wait for the child to be born, let us think together about how his coming has made a difference; how his coming might make a difference in our own lives. We know he calls us, even from the manger, to come and follow him in a way that often flies in the face of our culture. As we wait for the child to be born, let us humble ourselves like the shepherds so we may hear the angel voices calling us to be witnesses of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

With the Wise Men We Are Watching for Signs of His Coming

Based on Matthew 2:1–11

Let us be wise enough to follow the signs of his coming into our lives. As we watch and wait tonight for the child to be born, let us consider what gifts we will offer in worship and service, in witness and invitation. As a symbol of our willingness to bring our best to the manger to lay before the child Jesus, let us now—at the direction of the ushers—bring our tithes and offerings and lay them at the manger.

Ushers or deacons will invite people who are able to leave their chairs, beginning at the back, to go forward down the center aisle to the manger and leave their tithes. Deacons at the front will direct people to go back to their seats, returning along the outside aisles. Adapt this movement according to the arrangement of your sanctuary.

With the World We Are Praying for the Peaceable Kingdom

Based on Isaiah 9:6–7

The child is our Savior, born for us. Let the child, the Savior, the Christ be born in our hearts as we remember his birth. We honor the baby called Jesus; we remember the child who became a man. We know that he is our brother, our Lord, and we would be among those called his disciples. We shall follow him to bring justice to our world and so reveal the peaceable kingdom.

With Jesus We Are Growing in Our Discipleship

Based on Doctrine and Covenants 163:11a

The baby that is born tonight and that night long ago is changing the world. We will be humble like Mary and accept the gift of Jesus Christ. We will be joyous like the shepherds and become his witnesses. We will be wise like the Wise Men of old and offer our gifts in his name to the neediest around us. We will be the body of Christ growing as Jesus grew to understand and do the will of God. We will be the Community of Christ ushering in the peaceable kingdom.

Sending Forth

John 20:19–22

“Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’…Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”

I Peter 5:14

“Peace to all of you who are in Christ."