Worship Elements: Christmas Eve 2017 (Option 3)

November 24th, 2017

Christmas Eve 2017 (Option 3)

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

THEME IDEAS

The message of God’s incarnate love is so powerful in the familiar Luke story that even the once-a-year church folks get it time and time again. We are called to make sure that visitors and regulars alike hear the compelling invitation to live in the light that God has shined into the darkness. This means not just hearing the Christmas story, but telling its good news to others until we ourselves become reflections of Christ’s light throughout the year.

INVITATION AND GATHERING

Call to Worship (Isaiah 9, Psalm 96, Luke 2)

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light.
Celebrate the coming of the Light.
O sing to the Lord a new song,
God’s salvation is at hand.
Celebrate the coming of Salvation.
For a child has been born for us, a son given to us.
Celebrate the coming of the Prince of Peace.
I bring you good news of great joy for all the people.
Celebrate the coming of Christ!

Opening Prayer (Isaiah 9)

God of light and love,
shine upon us this Christmas Eve
and in the year ahead.
Guide us out of darkness
and into your joyous light.
May our lives reflect your glorious love,
that others may see your Christmas Spirit in us,
each and every day of our lives. Amen.

PROCLAMATION AND RESPONSE

Prayer of Confession (Isaiah 9, Psalm 96, Titus 2, Luke 2)

God of Joy,
we come to celebrate again
the arrival of Love Incarnate
here in our very midst.
Your glorious arrival
is enough to cause the forests to sing for joy,
yet we still find reasons to complain and sigh.
Your light of salvation
is bright enough to illuminate
every corner of our lives,
yet we still find ourselves shrouded
in worry and doubt.
Your gift of Love
is big enough for the whole world,
yet we still find ourselves resentful
that your love extends to those
whom we deem to be unworthy.
God, you invite us into the light of the stable
where the overlooked and forgotten have gathered
to celebrate the miracle of your love.
Give us the strength and courage
to join you at the manger. Amen.

Words of Assurance (Luke 2)

Do not be afraid!
Hear the good news of great joy for all people:
a savior has been born this night for you!

Passing the Peace of Christ (Luke 2)

As you greet those around you, offer these words:
“Hear the good news!”
Respond in kind:
“A Savior is born!”

Prayer of Preparation (Luke 2)

Surprising God,
open our ears to hear this familiar story
as if for the first time.
Open our eyes to see the diverse cast
gathered at the manger.
Open our hearts to the power of your love
as revealed in this amazing story.
Open our lives to the possibility of transformation,
as we encounter once again
God-With-Us, Emmanuel. Amen.

Response to the Word (Isaiah 9, Titus 2, Luke 2)

A child has been born to us.
Glory to God in the highest heaven!
A savior has been given to us.
Glory to God in the highest heaven!
The grace of God has appeared in human form.
Glory to God in the highest heaven!
Salvation has come to all the earth.
Glory to God in the highest heaven!

THANKSGIVING AND COMMUNION

Invitation to the Offering

(To be spoken by the worship leader, but not printed)

There is a sentiment among some churches that taking an offering on Christmas Eve is inappropriate. The feeling goes that it’s presumptuous, if not downright rude, for us to expect guests to come to a Christmas celebration and then be asked to put money in the offering plate. But we have a different perspective here. We are so grateful . . . so excited . . . so changed by the love that God has shown us in the gift of Jesus Christ, that we simply can’t walk away from here without responding. The same God who chose to come to earth as a tiny baby invites us to shine the light of love into the world. Through our gifts this night, we have the opportunity to say thank you; to say yes to life and salvation; to say, “Glory to God in the highest heavens!”

Offering Prayer (Luke 2)

Dear God,
we cannot thank you enough
for the gift of your Son.
Through your grace,
you have given us everything,
including our very lives.
On this night,
we celebrate the miracle of Christmas!
But when the candles are blown out,
when the ringing of the bells has ceased
when the angels and shepherds have gone home,
may we continue to shine your light into the world
through the giving of these offerings.
And so we offer you yet another gift:
our partnership to build your reign here on earth.
Amen.

SENDING FORTH

Benediction (Luke 2)

Do not be afraid.
We go forth with courage!
Share the good news.
We go into the world
to proclaim tidings of great joy!
A savior has been born to you.
Glory to God in the highest heaven!

CONTEMPORARY OPTIONS

Contemporary Gathering Words (Isaiah 9, Psalm 96)

Sing to the Lord a new song.
Joy to the World!
Tell everyone about God’s amazing miracle.
Joy to the World!
A child has been born who is the Prince of Peace.
Joy to the World!
The light of God’s love shines
throughout the universe.
Joy to the World!

Praise Sentences (Isaiah 9, Psalm 96)

Hear the good news: a child has been born for us!
He shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with truth.


Adapted from The Abingdon Worship Annual 2012, © 2011 Abingdon Press

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