Posts Tagged ‘worship’

Invitation. Christmas Eve is special night for us; the night we celebrate the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. Oh how we miss gathering together in the sanctuary, singing Christmas carols, hearing the Christmas story from Luke, sharing communion, and singing Silent Night by candle light! As we stay safely at home this year, may the peace of Christ be with you. We are blessed to know that God welcomes and appreciates our prayers and our praise even as we are apart from one another. So pause this Christmas Eve to pray, read the story, and sing. You may even want to have your own candles at the ready for Silent Night.

The Worship of God

Light two candles in recognition of Christ’s presence.  In our practice, one candle represents Jesus’ divinity and the other Jesus’ humanity.

Passing the Peace
Say to one another, “May the Peace of Christ be with you.”
Respond by saying, “And also with you.”

Opening Prayer
(from RevGord’s worshipofferings.blogspot)
(have one or more persons read while other follow along and/or listen)

Story-telling God, tonight we retell the old, old story.
Tonight we listen for angels and shepherds and a baby’s cry.
Tonight we look to the old story and ask
that you would be born in us again this year.

Tonight, this year, God, we listen for the story of PEACE
Peace in a world so given to conflict.
All year we have heard the stories of the ways things go badly.
This night, and in the year to come,
open our ears to the other stories,
the stories of the kind and good things people have done
and are doing for each other.
And in hearing those stories
may we be re-committed to our own acts of kindness,
the small ways we can make “Peace on earth, Goodwill to all” a reality.

Tonight, this year, God, we listen for the story of HOPE
Hope in a world that gives us so many reasons to despair.
Tell us, we pray, the stories that lie beyond the despair.
When the world falls apart at the seams,
remind us that you are there as we stand in the wreckage,
helping us to pick up the broken pieces.
Open our hearts to feel your presence,
open our souls to the possibility of new hope, new life.

Tonight, this year, God, we listen for the story of JOY
Joy in a world where so many struggle and grieve.
Life does not always go as we had planned,
some days it feels like life never goes as we had planned.
Help us find the possibility of joy both on the good days and the bad.
When the bad news makes us depressed,
show us the Good News hiding in the shadows,
and let that Good News fill our heart with joy again.

Tonight, this year, God, we listen for the story of LOVE,
Love in a world so full of fear and hatred.
You would have us act lovingly to friend and family and enemy.
In a world where love is so sorely needed,
help us all take the risk to love.
Show us the drama of love enacted in our community.
Help us bear the wounds and scars that may come
with being vulnerable, open and loving.
And when love seems too hard,
help us remember that we can love others
because we are loved with a love that will not let us go.
As we gaze at the baby in the manger,
may we see Your amazing love for the world
shining across the miles and centuries.
And may that love fill our own hearts to overflowing.

This year, this night, God, we listen for the story of CHRIST
The story of You coming to share our lives.
The story of You coming to change our world.
The story of love and hope, of peace and joy.
A story that happened a long time ago in a place far away,
a story that happens in this very place this very day.
Help us, God, to hear the story, help us, God, to welcome the baby,
Help us, God, to live into the new world that Christmas brings.
We pray in the name of the One who lies in the manger.
Joy to the World! The Lord is Come!
So Be It! Amen.

Song of Praise
Joy to the world! the Lord is come!
Author: Isaac Watts (1719)

1 Joy to the world! the Lord is come:
Let earth its praises bring;
let every heart prepare Christ room,
and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

2 Joy to the earth! the Savior reigns!
Let all their songs employ;
while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

3 Christ rules the world with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
the glories of God’s righteousness,
and wonders of God’s love,
and wonders God’s love,
and wonders, wonders of God’s love.

A Reading from the Gospels
Luke 2:1-20

In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius (kwi-RY-nəs) governed Syria. Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.

Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified.

The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.”

When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened. Let’s confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.” They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw this, they reported what they had been told about this child. Everyone who heard it was amazed at what the shepherds told them. Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully. The shepherds returned home, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. Everything happened just as they had been told.

Prayer for Others
Jesus, whose mother was Mary,
we pray for families of all shapes and sizes
all over the world.
Lord Jesus,
hear our prayer.

Jesus, cradled in a manger,
we pray for those who have no home,
and for those who have left behind all they know.
Lord Jesus,
hear our prayer.

Jesus, sharing the stable with the animals,
we pray that we might treat the animals and plants
which share our world with kindness and respect.
Lord Jesus,
hear our prayer.

Jesus, worshipped by shepherds and kings,
we pray for all kinds of people
all over the world.
Lord Jesus,
hear our prayer.

Jesus, our Emmanuel,
we pray that all would know
that you, God, are with them this Christmastime.
Lord Jesus,
hear our prayer.

Sending Out
(from RevGord’s worshipofferings.blogspot)

Peace on the Earth, Goodwill to all.
The angel song rings in our ears.
The baby has been born, the story is just beginning.
The promise of peace shines from the manger,
calling us to live as peacemakers.
As we go out to celebrate the Christmas Season,
we share the light of the Christmas star,
the light that brings hope, peace, joy, and love.
And we do so knowing that the Light shines in the darkness
but the darkness can never overcome it.
Glory to God in the Highest! And on Earth, Peace.

Closing Hymn
Silent night, holy night!
Author: Joseph Mohr

1 Silent night, holy night,
all is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child,
Holy infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
sleep in heavenly peace.

2 Silent night, holy night,
shepherds quake at the sight,
Glories stream from heaven afar,
heavenly hosts sing Alleluia;
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born!

3 Silent night, holy night,
Child of God, love’s pure light,
Radiant beams from your holy face
bring the dawn of redeeming grace;
Jesus, Christ, at your birth,
Jesus, Christ, a your birth!

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