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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas Eve’

Christmas Eve/Christmas  

 

Dec. 24-26

 

SEE A COMPLETE TRADITIONAL ORDER OF SERVICE WITH TEXTS BELOW.

 

This ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia is supported by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund.

 

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

Isaiah 9:2-7 / Isaiah 62:6-12 / Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 / Psalm 97 / Psalm 98

Titus 2:11-14 / Titus 3:4-7 / Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12)

Luke 2:1-14, (15-20) / Luke 2:(1-7), 8-20 / John 1:1-14

 

Advent Candle Lighting Rituals  from 2014

 

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.

 

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 Hymns:

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 Hymns: 

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).  A metrical version of the Psalter, for those Psalms not provided in Chalice Hymnal, is being prepared by Rev. David Chafin.  Where practical, these may be offered here as well.  You may also want to visit http://lectionarypsalms.org/   

Psalms 96-97-98 begin on Page 748

 

Concerning the Following Items: 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.

 

Call to Worship   

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.

 

or from MinistryMatters.com

L: He’s coming! He’s coming! The Savior of the World is coming!
P: Let us prepare our hearts to greet him!
L: He comes to each one of us, healing and restoring our lives!
P: Praise be to God for God’s mighty gift to us.
L: O Come, Prince of Peace, bring your light to us!
P: We are ready to receive you in our lives!

 

OR from MinistryMatters.com

L: Good news! Unspeakable joy!
P: A great light has burst forth, overcoming the darkness!
L: A child is born for us—a son has been given!
P: Bringing a kingdom of endless peace, we shall call him Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God!
L: Come, let us see what God has brought us! Let us see what the Lord has done! Glory to God in the highest!
P: And on earth, peace and goodwill to all!

 

Invocation or Prayer of Approach  

Reigning God, whose rule extends to the farthest stars, come to rule within us on this glorious night 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 (even as he taught us to pray, saying, Our Father…)

 

OR from MinistryMatters.com

Glorious God, who presents us with the most precious of gifts, we praise you for all your blessings in our lives. Tonight we have come to this place, in the midst of a busy time. We might not even have everything ready at home, yet we have come, because we ourselves need to be ready. Work in our hearts this night, preparing us for your presence. Work in our lives that we may reach out to others in comfort and compassion; work in our world that the darkness that has encompassed it may be dispelled by the brightness of your love and your Gift. In faith and expectation, we pray (as he taught us to pray, saying, “Our Father…”).

 

OR from MinistryMatters.com

Holy God, in days of old you sent your angels to tell shepherds the good news: “To you is born this day a Savior, the Messiah, the Lord.” Help us hear with the shepherds this good news, that we too may glorify and praise you for all that we have seen and heard.  Amen.

 

Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – 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. 

 

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.

 

or

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.

 

OR from MinistryMatters.com

God of bright and shining stars, we come this evening with the reminiscences of the old, old story in our hearts. For many here, the story has been heard numerous times, flooding their lives with warmth and love; For others the story is new, surprising, causing wonder and surprise. All around us are symbols and reminders of the miraculous Birth. We see the greens which remind us of your eternal presence and love for us. The candles shed their glowing light helping us to remember the many ways in which you have brightened our lives and offered light to our journey. The colors, the music, and aromas, the people, invite us again into your wonderful presence in the world in the birth of your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.

 

In this world in which your holy land is in such turmoil, shed your light anew, that your healing Love may bring Peace and Hope to people in conflict. We ask that you protect all those who are in harm’s way; all those who live lives of anguish, poverty, oppression. We ask your loving presence to be with those who refuse to believe in you; who see your word through the church as a tradition, but see very little impact in their daily lives. Let the Light of Jesus Christ penetrate that darkness of alienation and bring Hope and Peace to all your people.

 

May the light of the stars which sparkled in those dark skies, again illuminate our lives, guiding, healing, leading us to you, Blessed God.. As we gather in this time and place, hearing the story of the birth, remind us again that you are born continually in our lives. In gratitude we offer our praise and our love to you.

 

Prayers from Common Worship*

Collect

 

Gracious Father,

who gave the first martyr Stephen

grace to pray for those who took up stones against him:

grant that in all our sufferings for the truth

we may learn to love even our enemies

and to seek forgiveness for those who desire our hurt,

looking up to heaven to him who was crucified for us,

Jesus Christ, our mediator and advocate,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

 

Post Communion

 

Merciful Lord,

we thank you for the signs of your mercy

revealed in birth and death:

save us by the coming of your Son,

and give us joy in honouring Stephen,

first martyr of the new Israel;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Collect of the Day (from Book of Common Prayer, 1979**)

O God, you make us glad by the yearly festival of the birth

of your only Son Jesus Christ: Grant that we, who joyfully

receive him as our Redeemer, may with sure confidence

behold him when he comes to be our Judge; who lives and

reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and

for ever.  Amen.

 

or this

 

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 him

perfectly in heaven; where with you and the Holy Spirit he

lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting.  Amen.

 

or this

 

Almighty God, you have given your only begotten Son to

take our nature upon him, and to be born [this day] 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. Amen.

 

Service of Table  

While all of our congregations navigate the Sacred Board in a different way, it seems, there are common elements in most, which are provided here.  We would love to hear if your congregation has variations to these elements which we might address in the future. 

 

Offertory / Invitation to Give

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.

 

or

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.

 

or

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.

 

or from MinistryMatters.com

Tonight we come with our hopes and our dreams. We come as little children. We come because for some of us it is tradition for the whole family to go to church on Christmas Eve. Some have come out of curiosity. Some come because of loneliness. We are here in this place, waiting on tiptoes for something to happen. We come offering our lives and bringing our gifts. In the spirit of this night, let us receive our Christmas offering.

 

OR from MinistryMatters.com

Come now and kneel before the Christ child. Bring all that you are and all that you have. Offer your gifts in wonder and surprise and awe. Offer your gifts in joy and delight.

 

Offertory Prayer

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.

 

OR from MinistryMatters.com

Blessed Lord, you have given us your greatest gift—your very Word come to earth, to live with us and through us; you have filled us with your grace and truth—your holy child sent to free us from our bonds.
How can we repay such divine generosity?  Receive our thanks and praise. As you have given to us, so now we share your gifts and your grace with a world in need. May this offering help bring your light and love to those who still wander in darkness. Amen.

 

Invitation to the Table

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. (Words of 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)

Holy God

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.

Amen.

 

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.

 

or

            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…’”]

 

A Complete Service of the Nativity

 

+ The Gathering +

Welcome

(announcements, if any, including directions for communion, whether hymns will be announced, etc.)

 

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

 

+ Service of the Word +

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)

Hymn/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                                                                                   

The Proclamation

Anthem

 

+ Celebration of Christ’s Table +

Invitation to the Table

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.

 

Anthem

Thanksgiving and The Lord’s Prayer 

            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.

Through him and with him and in him, all glory and honor are yours, Almighty God, now and forever, and with the confidence of your children we are bold to pray:  Our Father, who art in heaven…

Sharing of the Bread and Cup

Candle Lighting

* Hymn:  Silent Night                   

                                                           

* Christmas Blessing

Behold the Lord proclaims to all the earth, “Your salvation has come! You are my holy people, the redeemed, whom I have sought out, never to be forsaken.”  As God delights and rejoices over you, go in peace, rejoicing in the Lord.  And may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you now and always. Amen.

 

 

MORE…

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. 

 

Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2018.  Calendar for 2019

Sun 2 Dec 2018. CW* Almanac and Lectionary 2018-19. Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary. for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2018. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2018 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries

using Almanac Maker. compilation © Simon Kershaw 2018 Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010-2018.

 

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.

 

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Christmas Eve/Day

 

12-24 (evening)

 

This ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia is supported by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund.

 

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

 

Isaiah 9:2-7 / Isaiah 62:6-12 / Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 / Psalm 97 / Psalm 98

Titus 2:11-14 / Titus 3:4-7 / Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12)

Luke 2:1-14, (15-20) / Luke 2:(1-7), 8-20 / 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 Hymns:

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 Hymns: 

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.   

 

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

 

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.

 

Call to Worship  

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.

 

Invocation or Prayer of Approach  

Reigning God, whose rule extends to the farthest stars, come to rule within us on this glorious night 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. Amen.

 

Prayers of the People/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. 

 

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.

 

or

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*

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.

 

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.

 

Alternative Collect

Almighty God,

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

Preparation (Invitation)

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.

 

or

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.

 

or

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.

 

Offertory Prayer

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. (Words of 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)

Holy God

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.

Amen.

 

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.

 

or

            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…’”]

 

A Complete Service of the Nativity

 

+ The Gathering +

Welcome

(announcements, if any, including directions for communion, whether hymns will be announced, etc.)

 

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

 

+ Service of the Word +

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)

Hymn/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                                                                                   

The Proclamation

Anthem

 

+ Celebration of Christ’s Table +

Invitation to the Table

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.

 

Anthem

Thanksgiving and The Lord’s Prayer 

            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.

Through him and with him and in him, all glory and honor are yours, Almighty God, now and forever, and with the confidence of your children we are bold to pray:  Our Father, who art in heaven…

Sharing of the Bread and Cup

Candle Lighting

* Hymn:  Silent Night                   

                                                           

* Christmas Blessing

Behold the Lord proclaims to all the earth, “Your salvation has come! You are my holy people, the redeemed, whom I have sought out, never to be forsaken.”  As God delights and rejoices over you, go in peace, rejoicing in the Lord.  And may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you now and always. Amen.

 

 

MORE…

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. 

 

Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2016.  Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2016 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries using Almanac Maker; compilation © Simon Kershaw 2016; 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.

 

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Christmas Eve

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:

Isaiah 9:2-7 / Isaiah 62:6-12 / Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 / Psalm 97 / Psalm 98

Titus 2:11-14 / Titus 3:4-7 / Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12)

Luke 2:1-14, (15-20) / Luke 2:(1-7), 8-20 / John 1:1-14 (John 1 text may be reserved for Christmas Day or read at both services)

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 Hymns:

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 Hymns: 

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. 

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.

or

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*

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.

 

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.

 

Alternative Collect

Almighty God,

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

Preparation (Invitation)

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.

or

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.

or

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.

Offertory Prayer

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)

Holy God

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.

Amen.

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.

or

            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…’”]

MORE…

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.

 

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