1 FAMILY CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE LIGHT HAS COME Participants: Adult/Teen Readers x4 Candlelighters/Child Readers x4 Dancer (Optional) Carol Leaders Carol Accompaniment Prelude Music Program: Piano Prelude Video Intro Isaiah 9 ( /isaiah-9) Reader #1: Hark! Be still. Pay close attention. Listen... that we might be able to hear, over the noise of our busy lives, beyond the clutter of our Christmas preparations; the herald of angel s voices: Glory!" "Peace on Earth! Rejoice for Christ is born! The message of the ages still rings out for those willing to listen The Light of the World is here. Reader #2: We welcome you tonight to our Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship. The last of the kettles are in, the Christmas assistance is complete, and we wish to thank each of you for your many hours of service and for your commitment to sharing the Light of Christmas in our community this season. Reader #1: Tonight we invite you to set aside the shopping, the wrapping, the meal preparations, the presents and the stockings hung by the chimney with care, and to experience again the gift that was foretold by the prophets, and announced by the brightness of a star in the east and by the shining light of angels from heaven: The Light has come!
2 Reader #2: The lights of the star and the angels of that first Christmas Eve were lights so brilliant that the shepherds left their sheep, and the magi left their homes - that they might follow the light and discover the gift to which the light was leading them. And so we tonight leave our homes - to discover - and to wonder - and to worship. Come, let us adore Him, he is Christ the Lord. Carol: O Come, All Ye Faithful (Stand) O come, all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant! O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem; Come and behold him Born the King of Angels: Chorus: O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord. Sing, choirs of angels, Sing in exultation, Sing, all ye citizens of Heaven above! Glory to God In the highest: Yea, Lord, we greet thee, Born this happy morning; Jesus, to thee be glory given! Word of the Father, Now in flesh appearing! Prayer: (Reader #3) Gracious God, with joy and thanksgiving we gather as your people. We have come to hear again the timeless story of Christ s birth. In the excitement of this night, quiet our hearts that we may know the peace and fullness of this holy time. Shine, O Light, in the darkness of our world. Sing, O angels in the stillness of our hearts, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those God favors. This we pray in the name of the Child of Bethlehem. Amen. THE LIGHT REVEALED: Scripture: John 1:1-9 (Reader #4) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that
3 life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. Carol: O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Remain Seated) O come, O come, Emmanuel And ransom captive Israel That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel. O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer Our spirits by Thine advent here Disperse the gloomy clouds of night And death's dark shadows put to flight. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel. Reader #1: The season of Advent has been a time of waiting, a time of holy expectation for what is to come. It has been a time of preparing our hearts and our homes for the coming of Jesus the Light of the World. Tonight we light the advent candles reminding us of the hope, peace, love and joy of Christ. Reader #2: To celebrate Christmas is to HOPE, to remember, and to prepare for something great to happen. As we celebrate, may we become a people of HOPE in the midst of our world. Reader #1: We have waited with JOY as we sense the excitement and anticipation in the air. As we celebrate, may we feel JOY in our lives and share it with those around us. Reader #2: God comes to us as a gift of LOVE wrapped in a tiny baby. We look forward to celebrating Christ s birthday with a new sense of LOVE for each other. Reader #1: As we have waited, we have experienced the presence of the One for whom we wait. God s presence brings PEACE. As we celebrate, may we also be bearers of PEACE to others.
4 LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT CANDLES: with optional Sacred Dance Music: Bring a Torch, Janette, Isabella (Downhere) Verse 1: Candle lighters 1 & 2 to come down aisles, carrying lit candles, and lighting the HOPE and JOY Advent candles respectively; stay standing at front holding lit candles) Chorus 1: Dancer/Ribbon Dancer enter stage left dance during chorus - freeze stage right Verse 2: Candle lighters 3 & 4 to come down aisles, carrying lit candles, and lighting the LOVE and PEACE Advent candles respectively, stay standing at front holding lit candles) Remainder of Song: Dancer Dancer lights Christ Candle during the last line. Candlelighter #1 (child) reads: And tonight, on Christmas Eve, our waiting is over. We light the Christ Candle to remind us that Jesus was born to us this night. Light of the world is here! His name is Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. May we celebrate together in hope, joy, love and peace in the light of God that shines in Christ. Candlelighter #2 (child) reads: The people who walked in the darkness have seen a great light. Those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness on them a light has come to shine. Candlelighter #3 (child) reads: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulders. And his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Candlelighter #4 (child) reads: He is also called Emmanuel. For in Him, God is with us.
5 Chorus: Emmanuel (Remain Seated) Emmanuel, Emmanuel, His name is called Emmanuel. God with us, revealed in us, His name is called Emmanuel. THE LIGHT RECEIVED: Scripture: Luke 2:1-7 (Reader #4) In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. Reader #1: Rejoice, for God is with us Emmanuel. Into a dingy stable, into a hidden corner of bustling Bethlehem, into the darkness of our world shines God s holy light. In a remarkable moment, God had come near. He came, not as a flash of light or with a royal announcement, but as one whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter. The hands that first held him were unmanicured, calloused, and dirty. Reader #2: The world was not expecting the Light to shine not like this. But God, the impenetrable, wrapped himself in flesh of the softest kind, that of a newborn baby. The One, on whom the hopes, and sins, of the world would be placed became the fragile One, dependant on a peasant girl for nourishment and the straw of a feeding trough for comfort. The Light has shone but in a most unexpected way. In Bethlehem s dark streets shone the Everlasting Light. And in a remarkable moment we received Him. Scripture: John 1: 14 (Reader #4) The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. Reader #1: The Light has come. And hope for the world has been ignited.
6 Carol: O Little Town of Bethlehem with optional Light Has Come : (Stand) O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie! Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by. Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light, The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight. How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is giv n; So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav n. No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin, Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in. (Light has come, all is bright, Fears are drowned, hope ignites, You have come to rescue us, In your hope we rest tonight.) O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray; Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel! (Light has come, all is bright, Fears are drowned, hope ignites, You have come to rescue us, In your hope we rest tonight.) THE LIGHT REJOICED Scripture: Luke 2:8-20 (Reader #4) And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests. When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, Let s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about. So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what
7 the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Reader #2: Imagine the scene at the manger. Off to one side sits a group of shepherds. They sit silently on the floor, perhaps perplexed, perhaps in awe, no doubt in amazement. Their night watch had been interrupted by an explosion of light from heaven and a symphony of angels. Listen again to what the angels tell them: I bring YOU good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to YOU This will be a sign to YOU. YOU will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. The angel s message to the shepherds was that this baby is YOUR Saviour, YOUR King, YOUR Christ, YOUR gift straight from God. Just for YOU. Reader #1: God wanted them to see the incredibly personal nature of this Christmas gift. And he wants us to see it too. God goes to those who have time to hear him -- and so on this cloudless night he went to simple shepherds. And tonight he comes to YOU. Hark! Listen! Do you hear the message of the angels? Light and Life to all he brings. The Light has come for YOU. Carol: Hark The Herald Angels Sing (Stand) Hark the herald angels sing Glory to the new born king Peace on earth and mercy mild God and sinners reconciled Joyful all ye nations rise Join the triumph of the skies With angelic host proclaim Christ is born in Bethlehem Hark the herald angels sing Glory to the new born King Christ, by highest heaven adored Christ the everlasting Lord Late in time, behold Him come
8 Offspring of the virgin s womb Veiled in flesh the Godhead see Hail the incarnate Deity Pleased as man with men to dwell Jesus our Emmanuel Hark the herald angels sing Glory to the new born King Hail the heav'n-born prince of peace Hail the son of rightousness Light and life to all he brings Risen with healing in his wings Mild he lays his glory by Born that man no more may die Born to raise the sons of earth Born to give them second birth Hark the herald angels sing Glory to the new born King THE LIGHT RECOGNIZED: Scripture: Matthew 2:1-12 (Reader #4) After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him. When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. In Bethlehem in Judea, they replied, for this is what the prophet has written: But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel. 7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him. 9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the
9 house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. Reader #1: The wise men had seen the bright light of the star. They had followed it to a most unexpected place. A King born in a stable? How could this be? In awestruck wonder and amazement they must have pondered the magnitude of the question: What child is this? Yet they believed that this child an unlikeliest hero - lowly, small, and weak was indeed the one for whom they had waited. And they followed his light to meet him to bow down, to worship, and to present their gifts. Reader #2: The darkness of our world was broken on that night so long ago. Not simply by a shining star marking the way to the manger, but by the Light that was found in the manger itself. And in a remarkable moment the question was answered: This, this is Christ the King! Tonight the Light has hastened us here - to meet Him, and to bring him gifts of our praise and our worship. We are filled with joy, for Christ is born the Light has come! Carol: What Child is This? (Remain Seated) What Child is this, who laid to rest, On Mary's lap is sleeping? Whom angels greet with anthems sweet While shepherds watch are keeping? This, this is Christ the King Whom shepherds guard and angels sing. Light, life to all he brings The Babe, the Son of Mary. So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh; Come peasant, king to own Him. The King of Kings salvation brings; Let loving hearts enthrone Him. This, this is Christ the King Whom shepherds guard and angels sing. Haste, haste to bring Him laud, The Babe, the Son of Mary. Raise, raise, the song on high, The Virgin sings her lullaby: Joy joy for Christ is born, The Babe, the Son of Mary!
10 THE LIGHT REFLECTED: Reader #2 : The Light in the manger desires to be our life as well. We have followed the Light to this place. And as this Light illuminates our lives, it offers an opportunity to take part in being a light to the world as well. As we look into the manger, we see the One in whose image we were created the image we were made to reflect. Scripture: Matthew 5:14-16 & Philippians 2:15-16 (Reader #4) You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. And You will shine like stars in the universe as you hold firmly to the word of life. Reader #1: What a wonderful gift! What an amazing privilege to take part in God s work of shedding his Light in a dark world this Christmas season. Christ is the Light of the World! Is he your Light? Do you reflect his light and love in your life? In a moment we will celebrate with a candelight ceremony a time of receiving and sharing the light. The single flame from the Christ candle will be passed from one to another. (Give Candlelighting instructions candlelighters on the ends of rows; please tip your unlit candle into the lit candle, etc.) Reader #2: As you light your candle, may your hearts be filled with a renewed light of hope, joy, peace and love that is found only in Jesus, the Light of the World. In this remarkable moment, receive Him. As you pass the light to others, may it be a symbol of our commitment to share the light and love of Christ with a dark world as we live as a reflection of Him. The light has come.
11 Carol: Silent Night (Sharing of the light to take place during the singing of this carol) 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 Silent night! holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight Glories stream from heaven afar Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia Christ the Saviour is born Christ the Saviour is born! Silent night! holy night! Son of God love's pure light Radiant beams from thy holy face With the dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus, Lord at thy birth Jesus, Lord at thy birth Prayer: (Reader #3) Father God, a candle is but one small light. One small light in a dark room will only light so much of it. In the same way, one little baby born in a stable went unnoticed by the rest of the city but those who were called to that stable took the light they witnessed back into the world with them. So let us take a small piece of this light in our hearts. Let our lights grow so bright that it can be seen by others and bring glory to You. Jesus began as one small light in a dark stable in a dark town. He brought light to a dark world. And He brings light to our lives. God, let us take that light now. Amen. (Extinguish candles) Candleighter #1 (child): When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with the flocks,
12 then the work of Christmas begins: to find the lost, to heal those broken in spirit, to feed the hungry, to release the oppressed, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among all peoples, to make a little music with the heart and to radiate the Light of Christ, every day, in every way, in all that we do and in all that we say. Then the work of Christmas begins. Reader #1: We pray that you will continue to seek and find Light and Life in the One found in the manger not only on this holy night, but each day as He comes to us, abides with us, our Lord, Emmanuel. Reader #2: And we pray that you will continue to hear the herald of angel s voices throughout the Christmas season and always: Glory! Peace on Earth Rejoice! Christ is born! Light of the World is here. Carol: Angels We Have Heard On High (Stand) Angels we have heard on high Sweetly singing o er the plain And the mountains in reply Echoing their joyous strains Gloria, in excelsis Deo! Gloria, in excelsis Deo! Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong? What the gladsome tidings be? Which inspire your heavenly songs? Come to Bethlehem and see Christ Whose birth the angels sing; Come, adore on bended knee, Christ, the Lord, the newborn King. Reader #2: Have a very merry and blessed Christmas!