Worship Elements: Christmas Eve 2017 (Option 2)

November 24th, 2017

Christmas Eve

COLOR: White
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Isaiah 9:2-7; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-20

THEME IDEAS

The magic of this night is the magic of promises fulfilled: the magic of light bursting on darkness, the magic of a baby’s cry and a mother’s tender love, the magic of angels singing glorias to shepherds, the magic of God coming to earth to dwell among us. It is important to keep hold of this sense of magic as we tell the old familiar story from passages people know by heart. Something special, something incredible happens tonight. Rejoice, for our salvation has come!

INVITATION AND GATHERING

Call to Worship

A light shining in the darkness . . .
What could it be?
The sound of angels’ wings . . .
What could it mean?
A baby born in a stable . . .
Who could it be?
Come to Bethlehem and see.

Opening Prayer

O wondrous God of the stars,
we come tonight with breathless wonder
to see the babe who will change our lives.
We hear the names “Wonderful Counselor,”
“Mighty God,” “Prince of Peace,”
and we are in awe.
You have touched the earth this night
with your unconditional love.
Touch us—
touch our hearts and minds and souls.
May we never tire of this story.
May we never take it for granted.
Make this night magical again. Amen.

PROCLAMATION AND RESPONSE

Prayer of Confession

It’s Christmas Eve again, God.
We’re barely ready for it.
So much to do to get ready—
gifts to buy and wrap, parties to attend,
trees to trim, houses to decorate.
We’re in a whirlwind of activity.
In the midst of the busyness
we sometimes miss what it is all about—
you coming to earth—Emmanuel—God-with-us.
Help us hear anew
your promises of hope and salvation and love
as we sing our familiar carols.
Forgive us for forgetting the magic of this night,
for focusing on ourselves and what we need to do
instead of on the miracle of Jesus’ birth.
Rock us out of our complacency.
Let us hear angel voices,
see shepherds hurrying to a stable,
feel the baby’s soft breath on our cheeks,
and ponder in our hearts what all this means
for the world, for us.

Words of Assurance

God’s love knows no bounds.
Love comes down at Christmas—
a love so deep and so profound
that nothing will ever be the same again.
Know that this love is come for you—
to touch you, to heal you, to forgive you,
to make you whole.

Passing the Peace of Christ

This night no one is a stranger. All are joined together as one family through the miracle of the birth of one small baby. Let us share our joy and excitement at being present when God reaches down to touch the earth. Let us reach out and touch each other in love incarnate.

Response to the Word

God, we see your light shining in the darkness.
We hear the Christmas Angels.
We behold your promises fulfilled
in the birth of this wondrous child.
May this magical story become real in our lives.

THANKSGIVING AND COMMUNION

Invitation to the Offering

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.

Invitation to Communion

This is a magical night. God-with-us has come to touch our world, our lives. God-with-us has come to bring us out of darkness into a glorious light. God-with-us invites us now to come to the table, believing in the promises of God fulfilled tonight. Here we hear angels, and see shepherds, and are transformed by a baby. Here love is offered, and love is found, in the sharing of bread and cup. Here we find our journey’s end and its beginning.

Offering Prayer

There are so many things
to be thankful for tonight, God.
Receive these tokens of our gratitude
for your love incarnate
in the babe of Bethlehem.
May they become God-with-us for all the world.
May they breathe magic back into a world
that needs a sense of wonder and joy.

SENDING FORTH

Benediction

Go now in wonder.
Go to bring light to those in darkness,
joy to those who can find no joy,
magic to a world steeped in realism.
Go with the songs of angels in your ears,
and the love of God in your hearts.
Go and spread the word—
the babe of Bethlehem is born for all.

CONTEMPORARY OPTIONS

Contemporary Gathering Words

Welcome to this most magical night
when angels and shepherds mingle
and the birth of a baby changes the world.
We come to celebrate with joy and wonder.
Celebrate the light that shines all around us.
We will sing and praise our most wondrous God.
Let us kneel before the Christ child,
who makes God’s promises come true.

Praise Sentences

Unto us a child is born.
Unto us a child is given.
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace.
Glory to God in the Highest!


Adapted from The Abingdon Worship Annual 2009, © 2008 Abingdon Press

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