Christmas Eve Candlelight Service – 12/24/2022

Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! Welcome. Bienvenidos. Here is good news for us all: To us is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. His name is Jesus, which means, “Liberator, Rescuer, Deliverer.” His life changed the world. His living presence changes us today. Lift up your hearts. Rejoice! Give thanks to God!

Call to Worship
L: Light looked down and saw darkness.
All: “I will go there,” said the Light.
L: Peace looked down and saw hatred.
All: “I will go there,” said Love.
L: So, he, the Lord of Light, the Prince of Peace, the King of Love
All: Came down and crept in beside us.

Carol – Joy to the World – UMH 246
Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King;
let every heart prepare him room and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven and nature sing, and heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.
Joy to the world, the Savior reigns! Let all their songs employ;
while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains, repeat the sounding joy,
repeat the sounding joy, repeat, repeat the sounding joy.
He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness, and wonders of his love,
and wonders of his love, and wonders, and wonders of his love.

Lighting the Christ Candle – Here is good news of great joy, for all people: God has rescued us from the domain of darkness, and brought us into the realm of Christ, in whom our release is secured, and our sins are forgiven. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never captured it. (light Christ candle) Let us pray that we may know the warmth and brightness of Jesus Christ, and show Christ’s love to the world.
All: Risen Christ, Light of the world, shine in our lives and shine among us now. Hallelujah! Amen!

Scripture Reading – Luke 2:1-7
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.  2  This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.  3  All went to their own towns to be registered.  4  Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.  5  He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.  6  While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.  7  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Prayer – Loving God, you sent your only Son, Jesus Christ, into the world, so that all might know of your love. Remind us daily that we are your precious children, too. We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen

Song – O Little Town of Bethlehem (v. 1,2) – UMH 230
O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie;
above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light;
the hopes and fear of all the years are met in thee tonight.
For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
while mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth,
and praises sing to God the King, and peace to all on earth!

Scripture Reading – Luke 2:8-13
8  In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  9  Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  10  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:  11  to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.  12  This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”  13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14  “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

Carol – Hark the Herald Angels Sing (v.1,3) – UMH 240
Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King;
peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies;
with th’angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”
Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings, risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by, born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth, born to give us second birth.
Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Scripture Reading – Luke 2:15-20
15  When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”  16  So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.  17  When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child;  18  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.  19  But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.  20  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Carol – It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (v. 1) – UMH 218
It came upon the midnight clear, that glorious song of old,
from angels bending near the earth, to touch their harps of gold;
“Peace on the earth, good will to all, from heaven’s all-gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing.
For lo! The days are hastening on, by prophet seen of old,
when with the ever-clrcling years shall come the time foretold
when peace shall over all the earth its ancient splendor fling,
and the whole world send back the song which now the angels sing.

Message – Rev. Gayle Porias

L: When the world was dark and the city was quiet, you came.
All: You crept in beside us.
L: And no one knew. Only the few who dare to believe that God might do something different.
All: Will you do the same this Christmas, Lord?
L: Will you come into the darkness of tonight’s world; not the friendly darkness as when sleep rescues us from tiredness, but the fearful darkness, in which people have stopped believing that war will end or that food will come or that a government will change or that the church cares?
All: Will you come into that darkness and do something different to save your people from death and despair?
L: Will you come into the quietness of this community, not the friendly quietness as when lovers hold hands, but the fearful silence when the phone has not rung, the letter has not come, the friendly voice no longer speaks, the doctor’s face says it all?
All: Will you come into that darkness, and do something different, not to distract but to embrace your people? And will you come into the dark corners and the quiet places of our lives?
L: We ask this not because we are guilt-ridden or want to be, but because the fullness our lives long for depends on us being as open and vulnerable to you as you were to us, when you came, wearing no more than diapers, and trusting human hands to hold their maker.
All: Will you come into our lives if we open them to you and do something different?
L: When the world was dark and the city was quiet you came. You crept in beside us.
All: Do the same, this Christmas, Lord. Do the same this Christmas. Amen

Candle Lighting – To light your candle, dip it into the lit candle. To light another candle, hold upright to prevent wax from dripping.

As the candles are lit, we sing:
Carol Away in a Manger – UMH 217
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where he lay, the little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.
The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes, but little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes;
I love thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky and stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.
Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay close by me forever, and love me, I pray;
bless all the dear children in thy tender care, and fit us for heaven to live with thee there.

Carol – Silent Night, Holy Night – UMH 239
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.
Silent night, holy night, shepherds quake at the sight; glories stream from heaven afar, heavenly hosts sing
Alleluia! Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born!
Silent night, holy night, Son of God, love’s pure light;
radiant beams from thy holy face
with the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

Benediction: The light that enlivens all the world, the light that darkness cannot overcome, love’s pure light in Jesus Christ, shine on you and in our world this night. Amen