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Christmas Eve/Day C

Dec. 24/25

 

NOTE:  The rich variety of services available for use at Christmas and the wealth of ecumenical and local traditions are too vast for inclusion here.  Some suggestions are given, but it is our sincere hope that you who use this site will contribute materials from your local celebrations for future inclusion.  Two sample services for Christmas Eve, each centered around the Advent Candles and Eucharist, are appended at the end of this post.  Please send us a copy of your Christmas liturgies, complete or in outline form, to dchafin@wvdisciples.org.

 

Scripture  (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):

 

Click on Scripture Lessons below for study links and resources for each individual pericope:

Isaiah 9:2-7 / Isaiah 62:6-12 / Isaiah 52:7-10
Roman Catholic reading for Midnight Mass: Isaiah 9:1-6 (see also study page for Isaiah 9:1-4)Roman Catholic reading for Mass at Dawn: Isaiah 62: 11-12
Roman Catholic reading for Mass during the day: Isaiah 52:7-10
United Methodist reading for Christmas Eve: Isaiah 9:2-7
United Methodist reading for Christmas Day: Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 / Psalm 97 / Psalm 98
Roman Catholic reading for Midnight Mass: Psalm 96:1-13
Roman Catholic reading for Mass at Dawn: Psalm 97:1-12
Roman Catholic reading for Mass during the day: Psalm 98:1-6
United Methodist reading for Christmas Eve: Psalm 96
United Methodist reading for Christmas Day: Psalm 98

Titus 2:11-14 / Titus 3:4-7 / Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12)
Roman Catholic reading for Midnight Mass: Titus 2:11-14
Roman Catholic reading for Mass at Dawn: Titus 3:4-7
Roman Catholic reading for Mass during the day: Hebrews 1:1-6
United Methodist reading for Christmas Eve: Titus 2:11-14
United Methodist reading for Christmas Day: Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12)

Luke 2:1-14, (15-20) / Luke 2:(1-7), 8-20 / John 1:1-14
Roman Catholic reading for Midnight Mass: Luke 2:1-14
Roman Catholic reading for Mass at Dawn: Luke 2: 15-20
Roman Catholic reading for Mass during the day: John 1:1-18 or John 1:1-5, 9-14
United Methodist reading for Christmas Eve: Luke 2:1-14, (15-20)
United Methodist reading for Christmas Day: John 1:1-14

 

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

Hymns of Praise:   165 Once in Royal David’s City, 142 People, Look East, 148 O Come, All Ye Faithful,  155 Angels We Have Heard on High, 150 Hark! the Herald Angels Sing, 143 Joy to the World, 138 Awake! Awake!…, 159 There’s a Song in the Air, 169 O Thou Joyful

Communion Hymn:   147 Away in a Manger, 145 Silent Night, Holy Night, 160 Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming, 161 I Wonder as I Wander, 162 What Child Is This, 163 Infant Holy, Infant Lowly

Dismissal/Missional Hymn:  171 God’s Love Made Visible, 167 Go, Tell It on the Mountain

More hymn suggestions, as well as helpful references for use of the arts in worship, are available from the United Church of Christ website.

 

Dealing with the Psalm of the Day:

Since Chalice Hymnal does not provide a complete Psalter, there will be occasions when suggestions may be made for alternate Psalm use (or hymn equivalent).  Psalms 96-97-98 begin on Page 748

 

Prayer of Approach (created or adapted by the editor)

L: The Lord be with you.

P:  And also with you.

L: Let us pray.  Reigning God, whose rule extends to the farthest stars, come to rule within us on this glorious day when the Word becomes flesh once more to dwell among us.  We open ourselves to the light and long to offer our lives as a dwelling place for your truth.  Speak to us again through the Child of Bethlehem.  Reach out to the child in each of us, and hold us in the warmth of love’s embrace.  For we pray in his name  (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

 

Intercessions (created   by the editor)

O God, you are never revealed so completely as in the face of the child of Bethlehem.  Hear us as we give you thanks for those who today reveal your love in our world in his spirit.

We pray for those who give you hands by doing their best toward their brothers and sisters; for those who give you a mouth by speaking words of justice and peace for the broken and oppressed; for those who give your poverty the look of hope for your reign, revealing you simply by being your children, reflecting your beauty as did your only Son Jesus.

We hold up in prayer the lonely and hurting, the hungry and homeless, the sick and dispossessed, knowing that your heart has always been nearest those who are poor in spirit and least likely to be thought of as people touched by the hand of divinity.

As we remember how you came to live among us in the flesh, and as we celebrate that moment long ago which lives forever in the hearts of those who believe, and as we long for your fullness in our lives that we too might enflesh the goodness and love of Christ in our day, we ask that you would bless us, your church, to be food for the hungry and hope for those who are lost and alone—a living testament of Christ’s faithfulness to you.  May all who drink of your one spirit receive new life to give to those in our world who are thirsty for meaning and belonging.

Pour out your Spirit upon us, your people.  Continue in our lives the mystery of Christmas.  Let your Son become flesh in us, so that we may reveal you to our world all the days of our lives.  Holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray.  Cast out our sin and enter in.  Be born in us today.

 

or

 

O God, who comes to us in Jesus Christ of Bethlehem, in our busy preparations and our joyous celebrations, may we not crowd you out of our minds, as he was crowded out of the inn on that first Christmas.  Forbid that we should spend all for passing pleasures and fail to find the deeper, richer joys that do not pass away with the close of the day.  Draw us back to his manger-bed.  Rekindle our sense of wonder and worship, and grant that, as we find you in the likeness of a little child, we may experience a new reverence for childhood, and a more sincere longing for those qualities of the heart which childhood incarnates.  Forgive our cynicism and pride, banish our doubts, and restore our faith in the things we cannot see or hear: the star that shines in human souls, and the song of peace that lingers over a world so troubled with war.  Like the shepherds, may we return to our humble lives knowing that heaven is not some distant place, but is ever near because of the coming of the Christchild, and that in him you have revealed yourself here, among even people like us.  Bless us, O God, one and all on this Christmas Day.  We lift our hearts in praise, and would seek to serve you as a follower of your beloved Son, assured that in following him is perfect freedom and peace.

 

RESOURCES from COMMON WORSHIP

 

Christmas Eve:

Collect

Almighty God,
you make us glad with the yearly remembrance
of the birth of your Son Jesus Christ:
grant that, as we joyfully receive him as our redeemer,
so we may with sure confidence behold him
when he shall come to be our judge;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

 

or

 

Eternal God,
who made this most holy night
to shine with the brightness of your one true light:
bring us, who have known the revelation of that light on earth,
to see the radiance of your heavenly glory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion

Eternal God, for whom we wait,
you have fed us with the bread of eternal life:
keep us ever watchful,
that we may be ready to stand before the Son of man,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

or
God our Father,
in this night you have made known to us again
the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
confirm our faith and fix our eyes on him
until the day dawns
and Christ the Morning Star rises in our hearts.
To him be glory both now and for ever.

 

Christmas Day:

Collect

 

Almighty God,
you have given us your only-begotten Son
to take our nature upon him
and as at this time 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 Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion

God our Father,
whose Word has come among us
in the Holy Child of Bethlehem:
may the light of faith illumine our hearts
and shine in our words and deeds;
through him who is Christ the Lord.

 

Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2011.  Compiled by Simon Kershaw October 2011 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries using Almanac Maker; compilation © Simon Kershaw 2011; Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010.   The Revised Common Lectionary is copyright © the Consultation on Common Texts 1992.  The Daily Eucharistic Lectionary is adapted from the Ordo Lectionum Missae of the Roman Catholic Church reproduced by permission of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.  Adaptations and additions to the RCL and the DEL, together with Second and Third Service lectionaries and the Weekday Lectionary for Morning and Evening Prayer are copyright © the Archbishops’ Council 1997-2010.  Version 2012-1.2 30 October 2011.  http://almanac.oremus.org/lectionary

 

Resources from the Jubilee Fund: This stewardship ministry serving the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) offers weekly emails, archived here at the Disciples Center for Faith and Giving Site, for each Sunday’s service.

You may also want to visit Worship Connection at MinistryMatters.com, which offers numerous helps, including electronic versions of print resources for worship and preaching planning.

Intercessions and other helpful planning materials geared to the Lectionary (using Roman Catholic version, but normally quite useful for all traditions) for preaching and worship are supplied for several weeks in advance at The Sunday Website of St. Louis University. 

Liturgies created by Moira Laidlaw(Uniting Church in Australia) as a part of her doctoral dissertation are often helpful.  Read more here.

 

Christmas Eve (2006 at Central Christian Church, Huntington, WV)

The Gathering

Welcome and Call to Worship

Organ Prelude

Choral Introit

* Greeting

* Hymn of Praise:  O Come, All Ye Faithful                     

* The Bidding Prayers  —Chalice Worship 98

Choral Anthem

The Candles of Advent

The Candle of Hope: The Promised Salvation

     Scripture Reading:  Isaiah 35:1-10

     Response:   O Come, O Come, Emmanuel          

The Candle of Peace: The Kingdom of God

     Scripture Reading:  Isaiah 11:1-10

     Response:   Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus  

The Candle of Joy:  The Annunciation

     Scripture Reading:  Luke 1:26-38

    Response:  Joy to the World                    

The Candle of Love:  The Magnificat

     Scripture Reading:  Luke 1:46-55

     Choral Response               

The Christ Candle:  Christ Is Born

     Scripture Reading:  Luke 2:1-20

  * Response:  Angels We Have Heard on High     

The Good News

Adoration:  Anthem here

The Celebration of Christ’s Table

Invitation to the Table

Thanksgiving and The Lord’s Prayer 

Sharing of the Bread and Cup

Candle Lighting

* Hymn:  Silent Night                       

* Christmas Blessing

 

Christmas Eve 2004 (Central Christian Church, Huntington, WV)

Welcome and Call to Worship

Beloved in Christ, with delight we prepare ourselves to hear again the message of the angels, and go in heart and mind to Bethlehem to see Mary and Joseph with Jesus in a manger.  Let us listen to the story of God’s saving acts and celebrate the birth of this Holy Child.  And let us make these hallowed walls reverberate with the glad tidings of great joy which is to all the people.

Organ Prelude:    

Choral Introit:   

* Greeting

L: Tonight old dreams die and new dreams come to life.

The promise is fulfilled.

    P:  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace.

L: Hope gives way to joy and prayer to proclamation.

    P:  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace.

L: The candles tell the story.  Dawn invades midnight.

The Light of the world has come.

    P:  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace.

L: This light is a light for all, warming us from within, radiating love,

lighting our lives with the presence of God in human flesh,

within us and among us now and always.

    P:  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace.  Goodwill to all.

* Hymn of Praise:  O Come, All Ye Faithful         

The Bidding Prayers  —Chalice Worship 98

Anthem:   

The Candle of Hope: The Promised Salvation

            Scripture Reading:  Isaiah 35:1-10

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.  A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God’s people; no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.  No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.  And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.  (Light candle)

            Response:   Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus                    

The Candle of Peace: The Kingdom of God

            Scripture Reading:  Isaiah 11:1-10

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.

His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear;  but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.  Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

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.  The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.

They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.   On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious. (Light candle)

            Anthem: 

The Candle of Joy:  The Annunciation

            Scripture Reading:  Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month 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 much 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.”

Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”

The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.   And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren.  For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.  (Light candle)

            Response:  Joy to the World                         

The Candle of Love:  The Magnificat

            Scripture Reading:  Luke 1:46-55

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. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;  for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.   His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.  He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;

he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.   He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”   (Light candle)

Invocation:   this was an anthem                  

The Christ Candle:  Christ Is Born

            Scripture Reading:  Luke 2:1-20

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.   This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.  All went to their own towns to be registered.

Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.  He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.

While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.   Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see–I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:

to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.

This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and 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 heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”  When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”

So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.   When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child;  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.  But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.   The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Light Christ candle)

  * Response:  Angels We Have Heard on High     

Good
News

Adoration:  anthem

+ Celebration of Christ’s Table +

Invitation to the Table  

Anthem:   

Thanksgiving and The Lord’s Prayer 

Sharing of the Bread and Cup

Candle Lighting

* Hymn:  Silent Night                       

1. Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright

round yon virgin mother and child, Holy Infant so tender and mild,

sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.      

2. Silent night, holy night, shepherds quake at the sight,

glories stream from heaven afar, heavenly hosts sing alleluia;

Christ the Savior is born!  Christ the Savior is born!

3. Silent night, holy night, Son of God, love’s pure light

radiant beams from thy holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace,

Jesus, Lord, at thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

4. Silent night, holy night, wondrous star, lend thy light;

with the angels let us sing alleluia to our King;

Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born.                                                                           

* Christmas Blessing

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