Christmas Eve Candle Nativity
December 24, 2022
Sing together: O Come All Ye Faithful (UMH #234 v. 1-3)
Call to worship
One: Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people!
All: Our savior is born in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord!
One: The Word became flesh, and made his home among us!
All: We have seen his glory, full of grace and truth!
One: Come! Let us worship Emmanuel, God is with us!
All: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth, peace.
Welcome/Explanation of Candle Nativity
Opening Prayer (in unison)
O God, you have caused this holy night to shine with the brightness of the true Light: Grant that we, who have known the mystery of that Light on earth, may also enjoy Christ perfectly in heaven; where with you and the Holy Spirit, Christ lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Sing together - Gloria Patri (UMH #70)
Service of the Scriptures - Candle lighting liturgy
Let us pray:
Lord, open our hearts and minds by the power of your Holy Spirit, that, as the Scriptures are read and your Word proclaimed, we may hear with joy what you say to us today.
Almighty God, you have given your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and to be born of a pure virgin: Grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with you and the same Spirit be honor and glory, now and for ever.
And all the people said: Amen.
A reading from Isaiah [9:2-7]:
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.
On those living in a pitch-dark land, light has dawned.
You have made the nation great;
you have increased its joy.
They rejoiced before you as with joy at the harvest,
as those who divide plunder rejoice.
As on the day of Midian, you’ve shattered the yoke that burdened them,
the staff on their shoulders,
and the rod of their oppressor.
Because every boot of the thundering warriors,
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned, fuel for the fire.
A child is born to us, a son is given to us,
and authority will be on his shoulders.
He will be named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be vast authority and endless peace
for David’s throne and for his kingdom,
establishing and sustaining it
with justice and righteousness
now and forever.
The zeal of the Lord of heavenly forces will do this.
One: This is the story of God for the people of God.
Many: Thanks be to God!
One: The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to Luke [1:26-38; 2:1-20]
Many: Glory to You, Lord Christ!
The Birth of Jesus foretold
When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a city in Galilee, to a virgin who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David’s house. The virgin’s name was Mary. When the angel came to her, he said, “Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you!” She was confused by these words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you. Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. He will rule over Jacob’s house forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom.”
Then Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen since I haven’t had sexual relations with a man?”
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come over you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the one who is to be born will be holy. He will be called God’s Son. Look, even in her old age, your relative Elizabeth has conceived a son. This woman who was labeled ‘unable to conceive’ is now six months pregnant. Nothing is impossible for God.”
Then Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
Sing together: Gabriel’s Message
As we sing, the candle representing Mary is lit by one of the Trinity candles
In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria. Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.
Sing together: Away in a Manger (UMH #217 all verses)
As we sing, the candles representing the Empire, Joseph, and Jesus are lit
Announcement to Shepherds
Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified.
The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.”
When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened. Let’s confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.” They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw this, they reported what they had been told about this child. Everyone who heard it was amazed at what the shepherds told them. Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully. The shepherds returned home, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. Everything happened just as they had been told.
One: This is the Gospel of the Lord!
Many: Praise to you, Lord Christ!
Sing together: The First Noel (UMH #245 v. 1-2)
As we sing, the candles representing the messengers and shepherds are lit
Children’s Time - Charlene Wimpy
Prayer for Christmas Eve Offering (Special donation for Origins Ministry to the homeless)
Sing together: Doxology (UMH #94)
Sing together: O Holy Night
One: The Lord be with you!
Many: And also with you!
One: Lift up your hearts!
Many: We lift them up to the Lord!
One: Let us give thanks.
Many: It is just and right to give thanks.
One: It is just and right and a good and joyful thing,
always and everywhere to give our thanks and praise to
almighty God, creator of heaven and earth. So let us pray:
God of love, You created light from nothingness and brought forth life on the earth.
You formed us in your image and breathed into us the breath of life.
When we turned away, and our love failed, your love remained steadfast.
You delivered us from captivity, made covenant to be our sovereign God,
and spoke to us through your prophets.
In the fullness of time
you gave your only Son Jesus Christ to be our Savior,
and at his birth the angels sang
glory to you in the highest and peace to your people on earth.
Holy are you, and blessed is your Son Jesus Christ.
As Mary and Joseph went from Galilee to Bethlehem
and there found no room,
so Jesus went from Galilee to Jerusalem and was despised and rejected.
As in the poverty of a stable Jesus was born,
so by the baptism of his suffering, death, and resurrection
you gave birth to your Church,
delivered us from slavery to sin and death,
and made with us a new covenant by water and the Spirit.
As your Word became flesh, born of woman, on that night long ago,
so, we remember that on the night that our Lord Jesus Christ was betrayed…he took bread and after giving thanks, he broke it, and he gave it to his disciples and said, “This is my body, given for you.”
Likewise, after supper, he took the cup and after giving thanks said, “This is the cup of the new covenant in my blood which is poured out for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in remembrance of me.”
And so, we gather as the Body of Christ to offer ourselves to you in praise and thanksgiving as we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again!
Because we all partake of the one bread and the one cup, we, though we are many, are one… no matter what divides us. So let us join together and pray the prayer the Lord taught all his disciples to pray. Let us be so bold as to say:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us and on these your gifts. Make them by the power of your Spirit to be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world the Body of Christ, redeemed by His blood.
By your Spirit make us one in Christ, one with each other, and one in the ministry of Christ to all the world, until Christ comes in final victory. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And all God’s People said, Amen.
One: The Table is prepared; all who are hungry and thirsty are invited to receive these gifts of grace; may Christ be fully formed in you.
One: God of love, the risen Christ has been made known to us in the breaking of the bread; help us now grow in love for you and for each other; Thank you for assuring us in these holy mysteries that we are living members of the Body of Christ.
Lighting of the Congregation Candles (The children come forward to receive their lights first, then the children take the light to the rest of the congregation)
Sing together: Silent Night (UMH #239 all verses)
One: May God bless you and keep you; may God’s face shine upon you and be gracious unto you; may God’s countenance be lifted upon you and give you peace, from this day forth and forevermore.
Many: And now, God, send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord. To Christ, to you, and to the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.