Christmas -- Eve

A Multicultural, Multi-generational Christmas Eve Service
Christmas (Proper 1)         

This Christmas Eve Service has been adapted from a joint service that was held by the Arcadia Congregational UCC and Mok Yang (Korean) Presbyterian Church on December 24, 2007. Please note that the readings from the Gospel of Luke have been broken down into shorter paragraphs in order to make translations much easier. Young people should be encouraged to participate in this service by reading scripture and lighting candles.

Two anthems have been suggested for this service – one, after the Christmas message, and the other during the offering. A choir from each language group can sing these songs or they can be combined, singing in their respective languages.

You will note that most of the suggested carols are traditional European carols which are found in the hymnals of most language groups. All people can sing together at the same time as these carols are played. It actually encourages the English speakers to sing out with greater intensity.  In a multicultural service we encourage using carols and traditional hymns which originate in all the cultures participating in the service; some suggestions from The New Century Hymnal are included.

Although your Christmas Eve Service may not end at midnight, we have included the ringing in Christmas Day. Someone may announce that it is 12 midnight in New York City, for example, and that we join with our brothers and sisters there for welcoming the birth of the Christ Child.



One:    We are a people of hope. Our hearts are full of anticipation for the coming of our
    beloved Christ Child. For God is to be among us and we will see a great light in the
    midst of our night. Let us light the Candle of Hope.
    (Light the first purple/blue candle)

Two:   We are a people who seek peace. We know that God has told us to turn our weapons
    of war into instruments that benefit all humanity. In the name of that Child who was
    born long ago to become the Prince of Peace, we now light the Candle of Peace.
    (Light the second purple/blue candle)

Three: We are a people who seek to be brought together by the love of Christ. Our faith
    teaches us that God gives us unconditional love and forgiveness. Acknowledging
    God’s free gift of grace, we light the Candle of Love.
    (Light the third (pink) candle)

Four:    Joy to the world! Our God is now coming to bring us “good news.” May we sing
    songs of praise and gladness. We know that our Savior reigns. Let us light the
    Candle of Joy.
    (Light the fourth purple/blue candle)

  Leader:    Come, all who are faithful and all who seek joy in your lives.
  People:    It is the season to sing praises to God for the Christ Child is near.

  Leader:    The symbols of hope, peace, love, and joy shine brightly in our hearts.
  People:    May they remain with us throughout the year.
  Leader:    We now share a promise that was fulfilled by God:
  All:          That our beloved Child is born
                 and will call us to new lives of
                 love, joy, and faith in action.  Amen.

CAROL  TNCH 135                                           O Come All Ye Faithful

HEBREW SCRIPTURE READING                               Read in one language or many
Isaiah 9:2-7

CAROL   TNCH 129                              Good Christian Friends Rejoice
or         TNCH 142      The Philippines                         Manglakat na Kita sa Belen
                                                             (Let Us Even Now Go to Bethlehem)

A PSALM READING                                      Read in one language or many
Psalm 96

CAROL TNCH 132                                                Joy to the World


ANTHEM                                            Choir or combined choirs

EPISTLE READING                                      Read in one language or many
Titus 2:11-14

CAROL   TNCH 126                                  Angels, from the Realms of Glory

GOSPEL READING                                       Read in one language or many
Luke 2:1-7

CAROL   TNCH 124                                            Away in a Manger
or         TNCH 149        Puerto Rico                                                      Pastores a Belén
                                                                        (As Shepherds Filled with Joy)

OFFERTORY                                        Choir or combined choirs

Loving God, may these offerings bring hope, peace, love, and joy to others who seek a better life for themselves. Use our gifts to do justice in a world of neglect and indifference. May the coming of the Christ Child inspire others to give abundantly. We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

GOSPEL READING                                      Read in one language or many
Luke 2:8-14

CAROL    TNCH 125                       Angels We Have Heard on High
or        TNCH 137    Japan                                                Hitsuji wa nemureri
                                                                                                                                              (Sheep Fast Asleep)

GOSPEL READING                                       Read in one language or many
Luke 2:15-20

CAROL    TNCH 144                         Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Tonight is the night for which we have all been waiting. Our Advent wreath will now be completed by the lighting of our Christ candle. “For unto us a child is given, unto us a Savior is born and the order of the world will be upon his shoulders.”  With the birth of Jesus, our lives will be forever changed. We will be transformed by his model and message.  We light this candle to represent that Christ is truly the center of our lives.

RINGING IN CHRISTMAS DAY                           a bell ringer will ring a bell 12 times


CAROL    TNCH 134                                        Silent Night

*Ushers will light their candles from the Christ Candle. They will take their candles and light the candle of each person on an aisle seat, and they, in turn, will light the candle of the person next to them. When all the candles are lit, the people will hold their lit candles and walk out of the sanctuary singing “Silent Night.”

A Multicultural, Multigenerational Christmas Eve Service was written by the Rev. Jolene Cadenbach, Pastor of Arcadia United Church of Christ in Arcadia, CA.
Copyright 2009 Local Church Ministries, Worship and Education Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH  44115-1100.  Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education.  All publishing rights reserved.


Rev. Susan A. Blain
Minister for Worship, Liturgy and Spiritual Formation
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44115