Worship at Home for Christmas Eve 2020

Christmas Eve 2020

Meditative Music and lighting of the candles

Advent Reflection for Christmas Eve by Jean Baker

Luke 2:13-14 Isaiah 52:7

Throughout Advent we have been lighting candles. One for Hope, Peace, Joy and Love, and tonight we light the center candle, the Christ Candle as we make our way to the manger. Jesus is born in a forgotten, off the beaten path town, but is the Lord of Hosts. Nowhere to lay his head, or his parents to stay, but yet, he is exalted by Angels. Born under the Roman rule and regulations, but yet, his life was meant to bring us freedom. Let us encourage one another in this the strangest season of most of our lives. Be encouraging with the energy and vitality of the Angels who were singing “Glory” from the heavens on that first Christmas night. Several nights ago was the Winter Solstice, the longest, darkest night of the year. We live in the shadow of fear, hate, and despair, but yet, this baby brought with him hope to the world, the promise of light in the darkness, peace in the chaos, love in the indifference, joy in the sorrow, and hope in despair. Consider those around you who may be living in despair in this Christmas season. Reach out to them, be their beacon of hope, peace, joy and love through Jesus Christ on this Christmas Day.

together: God of hope, peace, joy and love; God of all, we thank you and praise you for bringing hope where there is despair, peace in the conflict, joy in seasons of sorrow, and love where there is hate. Grant us grace and wisdom to follow in your example and do the same. Thank you for being a God of freedom, who gives us a song to sing each day. Thank you for coming to dwell with us, and to love us from the darkness into the light. Amen.

*Opening Prayer for Christ Candle Lighting

Holy One,

we thank you for the glimpse of heaven on earth

In the faces and the light of those around us.

Even in the midst of fear,

of challenge, of struggle–

even when our view is obscured

by clouds of doubt,

You have ignited the flame of hope, love, joy, and peace within us.

People: Let us glow with its brilliance

from the inside out. Amen.

Lighting of the Christ Candle

Passing of the Peace (Smile and wave to those around you.)

Service of Lessons and Carols

Luke 2:1-7

Luke 2:8-14

Luke 2:15-20

Christmas Meditation and Prayer

I love the story of the birth of Jesus as told in Luke. Luke tells us that, “Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” Ever since I was a child, I wondered about Mary as she pondered. What would I be pondering if I were Mary? A lot of emotions and thoughts would be rummaging around my heart. Joy, fear, awe, and a deepening sense of responsibility toward the child, Jesus.

As a newborn baby, Jesus would not appear to be a powerful Messiah. Baby Jesus would need to be loved and cared for by his parents. In addition to those who loved and paid homage to the child Jesus, there would be others who would wish him harm. Jesus would need to be protected from all that might harm him. Mary might be pondering, “How will I do this?” and praying for strength and guidance for this heavenly assigned task.

We all have thoughts that we ponder in our heart. What does God mean for me to do? We have prayers that we utter from the depths of our souls asking, “What am I to do? And please help me to do it.” We, like Mary, are entrusted with the care of the vulnerable and powerful message of God’s love. May God give us what we need to share the light of Christ with the world.

After Communion, we will arrive at the classic moment of every Christmas Eve. The moment when we light our candles and sing, “Silent Night.” At St. Peter’s we sing the carol in both German and English. A tradition that has carried through the generations. Keeping up our traditions is helpful in creating a sense of hope in troubled times.

This past weekend I streamed a presentation of “All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914” from PBS. The presentation was a musical drama about soldiers in the trenches during the first world war. The drama is told in the actual words of the soldiers and songs of the time. In the evening soldiers on both sides would gather to sing. Sometimes, if a song was especially good, you could hear applause coming across the no man’s land that separated the German trenches from the British.

On Christmas Eve 1914, both sides were singing Christmas songs. Then surprisingly while singing “Silent Night”, one of the German soldiers stood on the top of his trench. Soon all the soldiers in this area began to climb out of their trenches to sing. They met in no man’s and celebrated Christmas together. For a day, peace reigned as the men discovered that there was more that brought them together than separated them. There is much that brings us together when we lift our voices in songs of praise to God. May we all remember that as we sing our praises to Christ the King whose birth we celebrate tonight.

Prayer:

O Holy Night when stars shine brightly in the sky and Christ is born. We ponder God’s message in our hearts and lift up our prayers to the heavens. God open our hearts to the message of peace, hope, joy and love that Jesus brings to a troubled and vulnerable world. Help us to care for that message and to share the good news of Jesus’ love with the world.

May your Holy Spirit strengthen and comfort the lonely and the sick. May the Spirit bring the light of peace in places filled with war. May love triumph over hate.

Take a moment to lift ourselves and others in prayer. Pray for those on our prayer list. Read through the names on our prayer list and imagine that God is surrounding them and us with healing love and strength.

Sacrament of Holy Communion

If you are at home, please use whatever juice and bread you may have.

Say this prayer of Confession:

God, we confess that we do not always dare to live in right relationship with You and one another. In want and fear we do things that hurt others and ourselves. Strengthen our belief and forgive our unbelief. And help us to live in love with You and one another. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: Be assured that through Jesus Christ whose birth we celebrate tonight that you are forgiven and loved.

Communion Prayer: Ask that God bless your food and drink, invite Jesus to be present at your meal and give thanks for all that God has done for you.

Breaking of the bread and pouring of the wine

Sharing of the elements

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Sharing the light
Light a candle at home. In worship only pass the light with your family group. We will sing the first verse in German, then in English.

“Silent Night, Holy Night” NCH 134

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht! Alles schlalft, einsam wacht

Hur das traute, hochheilige Paar Hoder Knabe im lockigen Haar,

Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh, Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!

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.

Benediction Go in peace singing with the angels and rejoicing that Jesus Christ is born! Amen.

CCLI License #319932 Performing and Streaming The hymns are all in the Public Domain. *Portions of this worship service come from the Worship Design Studio and are used with permission. The videos are from the United Church of Christ.

Contents © 2021 St. Peter´s UCC in Owensville, Missouri • Church Website Builder by mychurchwebsite.netPrivacy Policy