Christmas Eve
December 24, 2020

Gathering Welcome
One: This is the day God has made!
All: Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
One:  Tonight we celebrate, if not in the usual way, still in a meaningful way.  Now, perhaps more than ever, God’s love and light breaking into our world matters.  We remember that the night of Jesus’ birth, things did not go as planned either.  What could have been a cozy birth and a warm home happened in a stranger’s barn with the animals as midwives.  That night, scripture tells us, Jesus lay in a feeding trough and not a cradle.  And yet, that manger has come to symbolize God’s journey with us in all its humble glory.  Jesus’ story reminds us that even if not the way we planned, God’s plan always finds a way.  Our worship retells the Christmas story through scripture and interpretative images provided by our Children’s church families as well as beautiful music.  Come let us worship!

Organ Prelude:     O Holy Night

Call to worship
We come tonight to hear the story of God’s love cradled in a manger. We come out of the deep night to see the light of Christ transform the world.
Light the first Advent candle.

We set aside our worries and cast our eyes on the promise of hope that redeems us, renews us, renames us, and grafts us into the story of love that came down for you, me, and all the world.
Come, let us worship.

Opening Carol:   O Come, All Ye Faithful  

Opening Prayer
Holy God,
we gather in this place because we know something extraordinary happened in the most ordinary of ways. Open our eyes to be enlightened by your love for us.
Open our hearts to be stirred by the lowliness of our vision that seems too lofty to touch.
Open our ears to hear your story once again and be moved to share it with the world.
We come to see your light as you lighten our paths.
In the name of Jesus the Christ, who is and was and always will be. Amen.

Prayer of confession
Adapted from Titus 2:11–14
One: Holy One, we don’t feel ready.
All: We don’t feel ready
One: to forgive others who trespass as we have
trespassed before others.
All: We don’t feel ready 
One: to share the good news of Christ’s birth and
salvation for the world.
All: We don’t feel ready
One: to live into a new life that lets go of our broken
Forgive us, O God!
All: Forgive us, O God!

Words of Affirmation
One:    We celebrate the forgiveness God has freely given before we even ask. Jesus’ birth affirms the good news of the gospel that this
salvation is available for everyone!
The Second Candle is lit.
We are redeemed and reminded that God is ready to take our broken pieces and rename them as Christ’s own. Hear the good news: You are forgiven! You are known! You are renamed! In Jesus’ name, we pray and say,
All: Amen!
The Third Candle is lit

The First Lesson             Long Ago Prophets Knew                           Isaiah 9:2, 6-7
The Fourth Candle is lit
The Christ Candle is lit

Message in Music:                  Mary Did You Know?
Peter Gutenberger, Jackie Oakes, Gary McWithey

Lesson                           Luke 1:26–33
Lesson                           Matthew 1:19–21

Carol:  It Came Upon the Midnight Clear

Lesson                                     Luke 2:1–3
Lesson                                     Luke 2:4–5

Message in Music:   O Come, O Come, Emmanuel        Sofia Koenig

Prayers of the People
Holy One,
we are reminded, this night of all nights, to come and see what you have done for us.
You have called those travelling far distances to trust in your great mercy to find food, shelter, and protection.
We especially pray for those who are seeking refuge and strength that they may find sustenance and welcome.

You invite those who feel un-loveable to be wrapped in your love, swaddled in your mercy.
We pray that despite circumstances of grief, mental health or addiction, they are reminded that they are named your beloved children.
We silently lift the needs of the world in prayer to you, O God. (Pause for a moment of silence.) 

You break through with the songs of unexpected messengers and light our paths towards your glory.
We may find ourselves rushing towards the manger without fully understanding what it means.

Thank you, God, for helping us respond to the world’s needs out of hope.
We pray all things in Jesus’ holy name, using the prayer that Jesus taught saying… Our Father…Amen.

Lesson                                     Luke 2:6–7
Lesson                                     Luke 2:8
Lesson                                     Luke 2:9–12

Carol:   O Little Town of Bethlehem

Lesson                                    Luke 2:13–14
Lesson                                    Luke 2:16–18

Message in Music:        This Endris Night        Brian & Joe Packham

Lesson                                    Matthew 2:1–2
Lesson                                    Matthew 2:3
Lesson                                    Matthew 2:9–10
Lesson                                    Matthew 2:11

Message in Music:    In the Bleak Midwinter  Gary McWithey, Jackie Oakes

Christmas Message                                  Rev. Laura McLeod

Blessing and Sharing the Light
We are reminded of the Holy Spirit’s presence lighting our lives, illuminating our community, empowering the world to refocus on the one who changed everything.
Let us light our candles and sing Silent Night, as we bless each other as the Body of Christ – one light at a time breaking through the night.

Carol                    Silent Night         Nancy Wandersee, Brian Packham, Gary McWithey

Go now in the light of Christ,
the sure and certain hope of our Creator,
sustained by the Holy Spirit in mercy and love. Amen!

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