Worship Elements: Christmas Eve 2016 (Option 1)

November 25th, 2016

Color: White or Gold
Scripture Readings: Isaiah 9:2-7; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-20

Theme Ideas

Christmas Eve is a night of joyful celebration, a night to shout and sing the coming of Jesus. This is not an empty celebration that should leave us exhausted, but rather a deeply filled celebration that looks beyond the actual birth of Christ. The reading from Titus reminds us that the celebration of Jesus' birth is just the beginning. The mystery of God with us is contained not only in birth, but also in suffering, death, and resurrection.

Call to Worship (Luke 2)

Augustus and Quirinius—
ancient names that seem odd to today's ears...
characters in an ancient story
that we long to hear.
Nazareth and Bethlehem—
distant towns we know little about...
places our hearts long for,
because of the One who traveled there.
We gather together to hear once more,
a story so ancient and yet so current,
so distant and yet so near.
We come to hear the story
of God coming to us.

Call to Worship (Psalm 96)

Ascribe to the Lord honor and majesty.
Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord praise upon praise.
For God, the Lord, has come to us.
In flesh, the Mighty One dwells with us.

Contemporary Gathering Words (Isaiah 9)

Darkness—we who walk in darkness
have seen a great light:
a light that is a joy for all the earth,
a light that announces new life.
In joy we greet this light.
In this light we see that our savior has come.

Contemporary Gathering Words (Isaiah 9)

A child has been born for us,
whose name is called:
Wonderful Counselor—
Good Shepherd,
Deliverer,
Lamb of God,
The Word;
Mighty God—
First and Last,
Author of Life,
Morning Star,
The Light;
Everlasting Father—
Bread of Life,
Resurrection and Life,
Light of the World,
The Vine;
Prince of Peace—
Chief Cornerstone,
Lord of lords,
King of kings,
The Way.
He is Immanuel. God with us!

Opening Prayer (Titus 2)

Grace of God, 
you have brought salvation to all,
by the giving of yourself.
In your sacrifice of love, 
you have redeemed us.
May we live lives that glorify you,
as we celebrate your birth 
into this world. Amen.

Opening Prayer (Luke 2)

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.

Celebration of Christ's Birth

(The following could be used in conjunction with the Taizé chant, "Jubilate Coeli," or other simple song of joy.)
Heaven sings:
sing of creation and life;
sing of love and light.
Earth sings:
join the chorus, tell the story of salvation.
Let all welcome the Messiah.
Sun and moon proclaim the message of divine light.
Ocean waves tell of life-giving water.
Forests rustle with Spirit-filled wind.
Field and vineyard give fruit for a heavenly feast.
All peoples marvel at what they see and hear.
Join with all of creation in praise.
Sing of God's deeds of power and grace.
For Jesus Christ is born this day:
the One who was foretold by the prophets,
and promised in ages past;
the One who would triumph over death,
and bring us life;
the One who would forgive our sin,
and heal our wounds;
the One who would show us the kingdom of God,
and how we might live.
Born to set us free ...
Born to give us life ...
Born as a gift ...
Heaven sings and earth rejoices:
Jesus Christ is born.

Benediction (Isaiah 9, Titus 2)

In darkness we arrived.
In light we now leave.
Though once we stumbled,
we now walk with confidence.
Rise up and go, for the grace of God has appeared,
bringing salvation to all.
May the light of Christ lead us forevermore.

Benediction (Psalm 96, Luke 2)

Go, singing a song to the God of our salvation.
Sing of mighty deeds and glory.
Join the heavenly chorus and sing:
"Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace."
Sing of God's salvation from day to day.
Jesus Christ is born today!

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