Service Prayers for Christmas Eve or Day – Year B

Service Prayers for Christmas Eve or Day

The Word, the Light, the Glory of God

Service Prayers for Christmas Eve or Day

Based on readings of Nativity of the Lord, Proper III

December 24/25

Isaiah 52: 7-10            Psalm 98         Hebrews 1: 1-12          John 1: 1-14

Since Congregations are returning to “in-person” services at different paces, Worship Ways for will be edited for online use.  “Rubrics” for virtual services will be noted in red;  take and adapt as you need!

Leader should speak the lines of the people, along with the Leader’s lines

Meditation on Community Life:  

Completing The Advent Wreath with the Christ Candle

The Advent Wreath, which in recent years has been adopted enthusiastically as a congregational ritual during public worship, actually began as an at-home devotional practice. So if your church is worshipping virtually, encourage your members to create an Advent Wreath in their households. 

An Advent wreath has 5 candles arranged in a circle.  Candles may be tapers, or pillars:

3 blue or purple, lit on 1st, 2nd and 4th Sundays

1 rose or pink, lit on 3rd Sunday

1 white or gold, placed in the center, to be lit on Christmas Eve. 

Surround the candles with evergreen boughs, or other decorative elements that speak to the season of the year.  For Christmas add the traditional red and green decorations  that celebrate  the day.

                                                      

The Candle Lighting time may be used at the start of worship, or perhaps during the Sermon time, as an interactive devotional time, or a simple Bible study.  It may be a moment to help the community reflect on the year past, with its trauma and displacements, in light of the scriptures that call us to recognize a new moment in the coming of Christ.

 

Christmas Eve/Day Isaiah’s passage speaks to a people who have been confronted with a joy they once could not imagine:  God’s herald has called them out of exile, guided them home, and  challenged them to rebuild communities thought lost for good.

How beautiful are the ones who bring this good news!

The Hebrews passage identifies this herald as God’s own Child, who bears the very stamp of God’s nature.

John chapter 1 identifies God’s Word as the One sent to be with us, leading with truth, but we must have eyes to recognize the Word.

 

Invite someone to read aloud  Isaiah 52:7-10, Hebrews 1: 1-3a, and John 1: 14

             Where do you recognize the presence of Christ–God’s Herald, Child, Word–in our midst— Where is truth being told, community being rebuilt, hope emerging? How can we celebrate God’s presence in Christ in the world?

 

 Light the  five candles:

 

                    Holy One, we give you thanks

                          for your presence among us

                          in Jesus, your Child,

                          born into a poor family.

                          Christ has entered our lives,

                          and embraced our hope and our struggle;

                          showing forth the power of your love

in healing, teaching and challenging

the powers of the world that lead to death.

With confidence in your faithfulness,

we welcome your beloved Child in our midst.

          People:         Out loud, but muted

                             God be with us in the Light of Christ.

 

Call to Worship  ( John 1 )

In the beginning,

there was the Word;

Out loud, but muted

the Word was in God’s presence,

and the Word was God.

The Word was present to God from the beginning.

Through the Word all things came into being… .

Out loud, but muted

In the Word was life, and that life was humanity’s light- –

And the Word became flesh

and stayed for a little while among us;

Out loud, but muted

we saw the Word’s glory—

the favor and position of a Parent’s only Child—

Out loud, but muted

filled with grace, filled with truth.

Let us rejoice in the Word!

Invocation  

            O Word made Flesh,

            You have come into our midst as light and wisdom,

            desiring to be known to us in our lives

and to be found in the world around us.

            Open our eyes and our ears and our hearts

to recognize you where you dwell

—in our midst—

Challenging, heartening, lighting the way

to truth, peace, justice.

Prayer of Confession  

When we close ourselves off from the Light of the World

            Struggling to  illuminate the lives of everyone,

especially those who are poor and oppressed:

            Out loud, but muted

Lord, have mercy.

 

When we close ourselves off from the Wisdom of God,

            Struggling to be heard above hate-filled words and fear-filled rhetoric:

            Out loud, but muted

Christ, have mercy.

 

When we close our hearts off from the Glory of God,

            Which is known fully only in a world of peace where all creation thrives,

            Out loud, but muted

Lord, have mercy.

 

Assurance of Pardon

 

In Christ, the Light, the Word, the Glory of God’s love

shines in our hearts,

and we are forgiven and given strength to go forward into a new future. 

Let us give thanks that in Jesus, Emmanuel,

God is truly with us.

 

Call to Offering

 

            The Love of God is born new in the world

as often as we embody that love

in the works of compassion, peace and justice.

            Let us offer our gifts in a spirit of generosity and hope.

Prayer of Dedication

Out loud, but muted

          With these gifts, dear God,

          accept the praise and thanksgiving of our hearts,

          which rejoice in your goodness and love.

          Let our gifts point to your presence in the world,

          and further your dream for the world

          through Jesus, Emmanuel, God-with-us.                             Amen.

         

Benediction

In the beginning, the Word;

the Word was in God’s presence,

and the Word was God.

The Word was present to God from the beginning.

Through the Word all things came into being….

In the Word was life, and that life was humanity’s light-

a Light that shines in the night,

a Light that the night has never overtaken.

Go forth to witness to the Light, to the Word,

to the Glory of God dwelling in us;

Go forth to live in grace and truth.

 

            Thanks be to God!

 

The Light, the Word, the Glory of God, service prayers for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, was written by the Rev. Susan A. Blain, Minister for Worship and Gospel Arts, Justice and Local Church Ministries, Faith INFO Team.  Translation of John 1 is adapted from The Inclusive Bible © 2007, Priests for Equality.

 

Copyright 2020 Justice and Local Church Ministries, Faith INFO 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. 

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