It’s hard to find ways to keep Christmas fresh and exciting when you have the same story and the same carols every year. At the same time, people like some of the tradition and familiarity, so I don’t think we need to always try to do something different.
But I know I always like to find new resources to see if there is something different or creative I can add in. So with that in mind, I’m going to share with you my Christmas Eve service. Feel free to use any of it that might be helpful for you next year. Just think, you could already have next year’s Christmas Eve service all figured out.
Here it is, exactly as we presented it:
CHRISTMAS EVE 2014
Brass Trio – 2 songs?
Video: Worthless Christmas
Welcome – introduction?
Welcome to our Christmas Eve service. Thank you for recognizing that Christmas without Christ is actually meaningless. And so you have come tonight to remember and celebrate the Christ of Christmas with others.
We are celebrating the coming of God to earth. In Matthew 1: 23 we read: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel – which means, “God with us”.
This was something that was promised long before it happened. It was prophesied in a number of different places in the Old Testament. One prophet who spoke about the coming of this special child was Isaiah.
Listen as I read from Isaiah 9: 2-7. This was written hundreds of years before Jesus was born. (read)
Let’s sing together…
Carol: –Come thou Long Expected Jesus (v. 1,2)
Probably one of the most familiar verses of the Bible is John 3: 16.
Here it is. (on screen)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
God – This verse begins with God. The Bible is very clear – there is a God. This God was the Creator of the world. And he created the whole world in order to have a place for people who he could be in relationship with.
The World –Then we are told that God loved “the World”.
This is not referring to the earth, but to the people who live on earth. God loves people. They are created by him because he wanted a relationship with them.
But very shortly after the description of creation we get the description of the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, disobeying God.
Genesis 3 describes how God kicked them out of the Garden of Eden because their relationship with God was now broken. Before this, God would come and spend time with Adam and Even in the Garden. Now that was over.
But do you know why they were kicked out of the Garden?
We might assume it was because God was mad at them, but that’s not the reason given in the Bible. It wasn’t because God is a mean God. In fact it was because he loves us. He kicked mankind out of the garden because they had sinned – they had disobeyed. And now we follow in that same pattern, we sin. We disobey God and what he has taught in the Bible.
Loved – John 3: 16 tells us God “loved” the world. He loved the people. He loves us! God doesn’t delight in making life difficult for people. God doesn’t delight in the fact that many people are separated from a friendship with him.
But God removed them from the garden for their own Good. For our good!
Here’s Genesis 3: 22. (pp)
Genesis 3:22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”
Because God loved them, loves us, he removed mankind from the garden of Eden before they had an opportunity to eat from the tree of life that would enable them to live forever. Because then they would live forever in their sin. If God had not removed Adam and Eve from the garden, we would be separated from God forever.
Look at the rest of John 3: 16. (pp)
He gave his one and only Son – God loved the world so much that he sent Jesus – that is what we are celebrating. The birth of Jesus Christ.
But why did God do this? What did sending his Son accomplish?
That whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
God loved mankind enough to remove them from the Garden of Eden after they sinned so that they wouldn’t eat from the tree of life and live in their sin forever.
Now, centuries later, Jesus finally comes, and he takes our penalty of death by dying on the cross for our sin. As we then “BELIEVE” in him he offers us eternal life. Jesus forgives our sins and makes us right with God – so now when we are offered eternal life it is eternal life in relationship with God. We don’t need to live eternally in our sin separated from God and heaven.
God loved us enough to make sure we did not need to continue in sin forever separated from God.
Listen to the next two verses: John 3: 17-18. (read)(pp)
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
Christmas is the birth of the one who would set things right so that we could come into a relationship with God, through faith in this one – Jesus, and then have eternal life.
My prayer is that each one here tonight would put their faith in Jesus so that you would leave her tonight with a confidence that you have received his forgiveness and the eternal life he offers to all who believe.
This was the one who was prophesied about in the Old Testament. The people of God knew that a Messiah, a Christ, was to come.
And so tonight we celebrate. Let’s sing Joy to the World.
Carol: –Joy to the World (1,2,3,4)
Scripture: Matthew 1: 18-25 (Angel to Joseph)
Luke 1: 26-38 (Angel to Mary)
Carol: –Hark the Herald Angels Sing (1,2,3)
Scripture: Luke 2: 1-7 (Jesus’ Birth)
The reading we just had told us that Jesus was placed in a manger because there was no room in the inn.
Bethlehem was full of travelers as they had to come to their home towns to register for the census that Caesar Augustus had called for. It was so full that there was no bed available for Mary and Joseph, even though she was pregnant.
Because of the manger, some have assumed that they were in a stable, but there is no mention of a stable. Quite likely they were in a place that was used by travelers as a place to leave their horses or donkeys, or whatever they were travelling on. And so these animals would have needed to be fed, so a manger would have been used.
Jesus, the Son of God, was then placed in one of these feeding troughs.
Can you imagine, the Son of God, left the glory of heaven to confine himself in the body of a human baby. And then he was placed in a manger, not even in a bed or a cradle.
God came to earth in the most humble of ways.
Let’s sing together… Away in a Manger.
Carol: –Away in a Manger (1,2,3)
–O Little Town of Bethlehem (1,2,3,5)
Scripture: Luke 2: 8-20 (Shepherds and Angels)
The shepherds found Jesus in a Manger. Wrapped in swaddling clothes. What is the significance of this?
It doesn’t tell us why Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes so people have made all kinds of assumptions.
I think the reason the swaddling clothes or the cloths he was wrapped in is mentioned is because that is what a newborn was usually wrapped in. This was to make clear to the shepherds that they were looking for a newborn. They were not looking for a toddler but for a child who had just been born that night.
Video: What Child is this- Song video
Carol: -It Came Upon A Midnight Clear (1,4)
–O Come all Ye Faithful (1,2,3)
Video: A Christmas Response
Tonight we have heard a number of scriptures read. We have sung a number of songs about that first Christmas. As the video invited you, “what is your response?”
Will you just go home and check Christmas Eve Service off your list? Been there, done that.
Or this a moment where you stop and acknowledge that Jesus is Lord. And not just Lord – but Your Lord??
Jesus came to forgive us our sins. All we need to do is put our faith in him and live our life in obedience to Him.
Why not put your faith in him right now!?
In a moment we are going to sing our last carol. Silent Night.
We have a fun twist to add to it.
Instead of everyone holding a candle as we sing, we are going to hand out glow sticks. We’ll sing Silent Night with the glow sticks.
So as soon as you get yours, go ahead –bend, snap, and shake them to light them up.
>>>Hand out Glow Sticks ?
Carol: –Silent Night (determine which pp to use) (1,2,3)
Brass Trio: We Wish You a Merry Christmas