2 Christmas Eve services from parish use a decade ago are offered, including one that has detailed texts for the presider(s) at the service. Hymn numbers are omitted, as are titles of anthems used.
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 periscope:
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
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
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.
The Oremus Hymnal offers many good choices for the lectionary (although this 2010 version will have incorrect calendar dates). Not all are available in Chalice Hymnal, but some may be helpful in congregations where there is not a Chalice Hymnal available. Visit the Oremus Hymnal.
Call to Prayer ©2007 David T. Chafin (tune: Hyfrydol)
Come, O God, commune here with us, as we lift to you our cares.
You, our hope and our deliv’rance, promise to receive our prayers.
God of love and understanding, you alone know heart and soul.
Listen to our intercessions, recreate us, make us whole.
Another Advent Hymn is offered by the editor for your use.
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). You may also want to visit http://www.modernpsalter.com/ or http://lectionarypsalms.org/
This week: Psalms 96-97-98 begin on Page 748
Note: Except where otherwise noted, items are created or adapted by the editor. If you are aware of source notations which are missing, please bring them to his attention. No copyright infringement is intended, but is sure to happen.
Words of Greeting/Call to Prayer
The Christ Child is born! All you who would find him, prepare for a journey, as determined as the Magi. All you who would praise him, come with the faith to follow but a star. All you who would worship him , come with humility to the child who shows forth the immeasurable riches of God!
OR (from the Anglican tradition)
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.
RESPONSIVE GREETING (adapted by the Editor)
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.
Prayer of Approach
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 (as he taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)
Intercessions (from 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.
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.
From Common Worship: (“R” = Hear our prayer, O Lord. Another response may be substituted)
To us a child is born, to us a son is given; let us pray for the people he came to save.
Wonderful Counsellor, you order all things with your wisdom: help the Church to reveal the mystery of your love and fill her with the Spirit of truth: R
Mighty God, the government is on your shoulders: guide the leaders of the nations and bring in your kingdom of justice and righteousness: R
Everlasting Father, you call us to live together in unity: protect by your mercy all your children, bless our families and renew our communities: R
Prince of Peace, you bring reconciliation through the cross: by your healing power give to all who suffer your gift of wholeness and peace: R
Let us commend the world, to which Christ came, to the mercy and protection of God.
Open prayer may be offered and silence is kept. The Collect and Lord’s Prayer follow.
Prayers from Common Worship*
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.
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.
as we prepare with joy
to celebrate the gift of the Christ-child,
embrace the earth with your glory
and be for us a living hope
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Service of Table
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Upon those who have lived in the shadow of death the light has shined. With the prophet’s words, let us joyfully participate in sharing the life-giving work of God in our world today as we prepare the Table of Christ with the offerings of our lives and our labors.
We come to this table as a people unprepared. Our world is as unready for the coming of Emmanuel as was the crowded town of Bethlehem. We are as un-attuned to the eternal as the sleeping shepherds in the field. Our expectations are as unclear as those of the travelers from the East. Though we are unprepared, though our lives are unworthy offerings, God has forgiven our sins and offered us newness of life through Jesus Christ. This is the grace of God in which we participate at this table. Come, share the feast.
Out of the darkness of our world, we have seen a great light. The birth of the Christ Child calls us to something special. God comes to us now in this busy season to make all things new. God makes room for us, even when there is no room at the inn. Where we are too busy, God brings peace. Where we are lost, salvation. Where we are sad, joy. Where we are bitter, God gives us the courage to love again. Rejoice! Christ has come to us bringing all these gifts of God. Let us join with the whole church to eat and drink with him. May the bread we eat bet to us the very bread of life. May the cup we share be God’s wine of salvation. Let us celebrate Emmanuel – God is with us – as we come to his table in faith. You are welcome here – all of you. It is he who invites you, and it is he who gives you life.
Thank you, God of Love, for the promise of this season. We are grateful for the generosity aroused in us by Christ’s coming into the world. May these gifts represent a new spirit of joyous sharing among us, for the sake of all your children everywhere. Amen.
Great Thanksgiving (if one is offered)
Holy God, creator of heaven and earth, we joyfully thank you and praise your name. You formed the universe in your wisdom, and created all things by your power. You set us in families on the earth to live with you in faith. We praise you for good gifts of bread and wine, and for the table you spread in the world as a sign of your love for all people. You alone are God, and we join ourselves with all your faithful beyond all time and space, and join in praising your holy name (and join their unending hymn: Holy, holy, holy Lord,..)
We praise you, Lord, for sending your only Son Jesus to live among us, full of grace and truth. He made you known to all who receive him. Sharing our joy and sorrow, he healed the sick, befriended sinners, and showed us the way to fulfillment in partnership with other people. Two by two he sent his disciples to extend your promise of friendship and love, and two by two he calls us still to work in your spirit of love. We trust him to overcome every power that can hurt or divide us, and believe that when he comes again in glory, we will celebrate victory with him throughout eternity at his heavenly table. (INSTITUTION)
And so, in remembrance of all your mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we take this bread and cup and give you thanks and praise. Pour out your Spirit upon us, that this bread and cup may be for us the body and blood of Christ, and that we, and all who share this feast, may be one with Christ and he with us. Fill us with eternal life, that with joy we may be his faithful people until we feast with him in glory. Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor are yours, Almighty God, now and forever. (Our father…)
or (from William Flewelling)
who has chosen to be known to us
through the Incarnate Lord Jesus,
we raise our souls in praise and thanksgiving
for your thorough gift of self,
even into our flesh and blood.
For in your stirring among us, Lord,
you fostered in us your own gifts of life.
You have opened in us the hope
of Jesus Christ.
You have borne in us the living Word.
You have drawn us to your own life in joy.
And so we come in awe,
rejoicing in your coming to us.
We come breaking bread
with which Jesus associated himself, saying:
This is my body.
We come sharing a cup of wine
with which Jesus gave the new covenant
in his blood.
Send forth your Spirit upon us
that in this feast we may be united in you,
that we may be fed and
that we may learn the tender gift of Christmas
in our flesh.
We pray in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Elders’ Prayers/Prayer of Thanksgiving
(The following may be offered as one prayer, or broken between two Elders, if that is the tradition to be followed)
Holy God, you have created all and love all which you have created, we give you thanks for the gift of your Son Jesus Christ who came to live among us, full of grace and truth. As we receive from his Table, we ask that you would send the power of your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts of bread and wine, that they would be for us the body and blood of Christ, and that as his one body we might go forth from this celebration to proclaim in word and deed the new life that is ours through the mysteries we receive. Through him, with him, and in him, in the power of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor be to you, O God, now and forever. Amen.
Holy God, we praise and bless you for creation and the gift of life; and for your abiding love which brings us close to you, the source of all blessing. We thank you for revealing your will for us in the giving of the law and the teaching of the prophets.
We thank you especially that in the fullness of time you sent your only Jesus, born of Mary, to live in our midst, to embody your grace and truth in this world. In this mystery of the word made flesh, you came to share in our struggles, and to cause the light of life to shine in our hearts. We rejoice that when he had suffered death and the grave, you raised him from death with power to become king of kings and lord of lords.
You have gathered your Church at your table to strengthen us to share the gift of eternal life. Now send the power of your Spirit upon us and upon these gifts of bread and wine, that they may be for us Christ’s body and blood, and that we might be for the world Christ’s body, until at last we feast with him and all your people at the table of unending joy.
[if not previously offered: “And now with the confidence of your children, we offer the prayer our Savior taught us, ‘Our Father…’”]
Resources from the Jubilee Fund: This stewardship ministry serving the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) offers weekly emails for each Sunday’s service. Visit http://www.thejubileefund.com/ to learn more.
Rev. Tim Graves offers Liturgy Bits with valuable, culturally sensitive and creatively contemplative works, well worth your time.
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.
Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2015. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2015 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries using Almanac Maker; compilation © Simon Kershaw 2015; 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. http://almanac.oremus.org/lectionary
Book of Common Prayer (1979), Public domain.
NOTE: We hope you return to this posting often (and are subscribed to the feed by email, on Facebook or your favorite reader), since the content of each week’s posting may change several times before Sunday. We’d also like to include your content, even after the fact, since everything will roll around again in 3 years, and your contributions may find new life in the great cycle of the lectionary. Send your comments or content here.