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Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion Service
For Year B


by Rev. Richard J. Fairchild
b-ad04sn 707100

	This Christmas Eve Communion Service can be used any
	Year - but it was prepared in Year B and is so named 
	above.  Again anthems can be changed to match your musical 
	sources.

	
                             LIGHTING THE WAY

WORDS OF WELCOME (from entrance way)
L    The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, 
     and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
P    And also with you.
   
   
* PROCESSIONAL HYMN: "O Come All Ye Faithful"
     O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
     O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
     Come and behold him, born the King of Angels;
     O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him,
     O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.
   
     Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation,
     Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above;
     Glory to God, in the highest.
     O Come let us adore him....
          
     Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning;
     Jesus, to thee be glory given;
     Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;
     O Come let us adore him....
   
  
* CALL TO WORSHIP AND CANDLE LIGHTING
L    The Lord be with you.
P    And also with you.
L    We gather to celebrate the birth of the one who is the light of the
     world.
P    We are here to worship God and his Son Jesus Christ,
     born this night in Bethlehem of Judea.
L    We  light the candle of hope to remind us of the promises made by all
     the prophets that God would raise up a saviour for his people Israel and
     through Him bless all the nations.
P    Let the heavens and the earth rejoice.
     Our Lord has come.

     - light the first candle -
              
L    We light the candle of peace to remind us that the Prince of Peace comes
     to enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.
P    Let the heavens and the earth rejoice.
     Our Lord has come.

     - light the second candle -   

L    We light the candle of joy to remind us that the Lord has made known his
     salvation and that grace is poured out upon us.
P    Let the heavens and the earth rejoice.
     Our Lord has come.

     - light the third candle -
          
L    We  light the candle of love to remind us that God so loved the world
     that he sent his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him
     might have eternal life.
P    Let the heavens and the earth rejoice.
     Our Lord has come.

     - light the fourth candle -

L    We light the Christ candle to celebrate and rejoice that the light of
     the world is born this night.... 

     - light the Christ candle -
               
L    The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.  Those who
     dwelt in a land of deep darkness - on them a light has shined.  You, O
     Lord, have multiplied the nation.  You have increased its joy.  For unto
     us a child is born, unto us a son is given.  And the government shall be
     upon his shoulder.  He is called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
     Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
P    Glory be to God in the highest heaven, and on earth 
     peace to all people of good will.  Alleluia!
 

* PRAYER OF INVOCATION  
Almighty God - you have made this night holy by the gift of your Son, born
of the Spirit and of Mary.   Let his light shine within our hearts even
more brightly than it shines from the candles in this place.  Help us to
hear your word and to celebrate your everlasting love through Christ Jesus
our Lord.  Amen.

  
* HYMN: "Good Christian Folk Rejoice"
     Good Christian folk, rejoice with heart and soul and voice!
     Give ye heed to what we say: News!  News!
     Jesus Christ is born today.
     Ox and ass before him bow, and he is in the manger now.
     Christ is born today, Christ is born today!
    
     Good Christian folk, rejoice with heart and soul and voice!
     Now ye hear of endless bliss: Joy!  Joy!
     Jesus Christ was born for this.
     He hath oped the heavenly door, and folk are blessed for evermore.
     Christ was born for this, Christ was born for this!
     
     Good Christian folk, rejoice with heart and soul and voice!
     Now ye need not fear the grave; Peace!  Peace!
     Jesus Christ was born to save, 
     calls you one and calls you all to gain his everlasting hall.
     Christ was born to save, Christ was born to save!


                   HEARING THE GOOD NEWS OF CHRISTMAS

SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:26-38 
     In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in
     Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was
     Joseph, of the house of David.  The virgin's name was Mary.

     And he came to her and said, "Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with
     you." 

     But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of
     greeting this might be.

     The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found
     favour with God.  And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a
     son, and you will name him Jesus.  He will be great, and will be called
     the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne
     of his ancestor David.  He will reign over the house of Jacob forever,
     and of his kingdom there will be no end." 

     Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?"

     The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the
     power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be
     born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.  And now, your relative
     Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth
     month for her who was said to be barren.  For nothing will be impossible
     with God." 

     Then Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me
     according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.


HYMN: "O Little Town of Bethlehem" (please remain seated)
     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 street shineth the everlasting light;
     the hopes and fears 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 men on earth.
    
     How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given!
     So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven.
     No ear may hear his coming; but in the world of sin,
     Where meet souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in.


SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:1-14
     In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world
     should be registered.   This was the first registration and was taken
     while Quirinius was governor of Syria.  All went to their own towns to
     be registered.  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.  He went to be registered with Mary,
     to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 

     While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.  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.

     In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch
     over their flock by night.  Then an angel of the Lord stood before them,
     and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  
     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:  to you is born this day
     in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will
     be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and
     lying in a manger."

     And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host,
     praising God and saying,  "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on
     earth peace among those whom he favours!"


CHOIR READING & ANTHEMS
     -- Reading From the Choir Loft
          Before the marvel of this night, 
          proclaim the birth of Jesus Christ.
          Awake the sleeping world with song, 
          The love that we have always known.
          Sing Peace!  Sing Love.
          Sing God is Love.
          We stand adoring, before the marvel of this night.

     -- Before The Marvel of This Night
     -- He is Born
     -- Jesus, Our Brother


SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:15-20
     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."

     So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying
     in the manger.  When they saw this, they made known what had been told
     them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the
     shepherds told them.  But Mary treasured all these words and pondered
     them in her heart. 

     The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had
     heard and seen, as it had been told them.


HYMN: "Away In A Manger" 
     Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
     the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
     The stars in the bright 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 you, Lord Jesus; look down from the sky,
     and stay by my side until morning is nigh.
       
     Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask you to stay
     close by me for ever, and love me, I pray.
     Bless all the dear children in your tender care,
     and fit us for heaven, to live with you there.


CHOIR READING AND ANTHEMS  
     -- Reading From The Choir Loft
          The angels sang and the shepherds came
          He came from the glorious kingdom.
          Oh!  Yes!  Believer!
          He came from the glory
          He came from the glorious kingdom.

     -- The Virgin Had A Baby Boy
     -- Ring A Bell For Peace


                        CHRISTMAS PRAYER & OFFERING

  
A CHRISTMAS PRAYER:
L    Let us affirm the love that God has for us 
     - a love that was not, and cannot, be hindered.
P    We thank God for coming unto us; 
     we praise him for Christ's birth into our world.
L    It was cold and Mary and Joseph were fearful.
P    But that did not stop the birth.
L    They were poor and had no place fitting for their child.
P    But that did not stop the birth.
L    They were uncertain about what God wanted from them.
P    But that did not stop the birth.
L    And today we are still sometimes cold and fearful, 
     certainly poor in many ways.
P    We often feel that we have no place 
     and are unclear about what God wants of us.
L    But these things did not stop the birth of Jesus then, 
     nor will they do it now.  
     To all who are open to God's leading, He comes.
P    Lord Jesus be born in us tonight.


SHARING GOD'S BLESSINGS:  The Offering is Received and the Anthem: "Before
     The Marvel of This Nite" is sung.  The Offering will be brought forward
     as the Congregation stands to sing: "Praise God From Whom All Blessings
     Flow" (VU 541)

       Praise God from whom all blessings flow; 
       praise God, all creatures high and low; 
       give thanks to God in love made known: 
       Creator, Word and Spirit, One.

               
* PRAYER OF DEDICATION
L    Loving God, like Mary and Joseph, who trusted in your grace despite
     their fear, their poverty, their lack of certainty, we offer ourselves
     and our gifts to you.  Bless our offering and hallow our every thought
     and action, that Christ may be born in us and through us be revealed to
     those who yet walk in darkness.  
P    Amen.


* HYMN: "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" 
     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 men, from heaven's all gracious king!"
     The world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing.
   
     Still through the cloven skies they come with peaceful wings unfurled;
     and still their heavenly music floats o'er all the weary world;
     above it's sad and lowly plains they bend on hovering wing,
     and ever o'er its Babel sounds the blessed angels sing.
  
     For, lo!  the days are hastening on, by prophet bards foretold,
     when with the ever-circling years comes round the age of gold,
     when peace shall over all the earth its ancient splendours fling,
     and the whole world give back the song which now the angels sing.


                            CHRISTMAS COMMUNION

							
COMMUNION LITANY:
L    The peace of the Lord be with you.
P    And also with you.
L    Lift your hearts up to the Lord.
P    It is right to give God thanks and praise.
L    Let us proclaim our faith in God and in His son, Jesus Christ, our Lord,
     our brother, and our Saviour.
P    We come before him, thankful for all his love and mercy.


A CHRISTMAS CONFESSION  (Walter Russell Bowie: A Christmas Creed)
L    I believe in Jesus Christ and the beauty of the gospel begun in
     Bethlehem.
P    I believe in the one whose spirit glorified a little town; and whose
     spirit still brings joy to people all over the world in towns both large
     and small.
L    I believe in the one for whom the crowded inn could find no room, and I
     confess that my heart still sometimes wants to exclude Christ from my
     life today.
P    I believe in the one who the rulers of the earth ignored and the proud
     could never understand; whose life was among common people, whose
     welcome came from persons of hungry hearts.
L    I believe in the one who proclaimed the love of God to be invincible:
P    I believe in the one whose cradle was a mother's arms, whose modest home
     in Nazareth had love for its only wealth, who looked at people and made
     them see what God's love saw in them, who, by love, brought sinners back
     to purity, and lifted human weakness up to meet the strength of God.
L    I confess the many things that stand in the way of true celebration of
     God's love.
P    I confess those things in my life that have caused me to become
     separated from my God, my neighbours, and myself
                  .......... (silent prayer) ..........
L    I confess my ever-lasting need of God:
P    The need of forgiveness for selfishness and greed, the need of new life
     for empty souls, the need of love for hearts grown cold.
L    I believe in God who gives us the best of himself.
P    I believe in Jesus, the son of the living God, born in Bethlehem this
     night, for me and for the world I believe that in and through Him comes
     God's gift of forgiveness and new life, both here and in the world to
     come.


PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

WORDS OF INSTITUTION

BLESSING OF THE ELEMENTS

THE LORD'S PRAYER SUNG


RECEIVING THE ELEMENTS AND AND LIGHTING OUR CANDLES:  The Choir will
     receive Communion first, then everyone is asked to come forward to
     receive communion, starting from the left side of the church, by moving
     counter-clockwise around the church to one of the three stations at the
     front.  Please light a candle after receiving communion.  The choir will
     sing "A Light is Gleaming"


DEPARTING PRAYER (The Canticle of Simeon)
L    Let us pray
P    Lord, let your servants now depart in peace,  
     according to your word; 
     for our eyes have seen your salvation, 
     which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 
     a light to lighten the Gentiles 
     and the glory of your people Israel.


HYMN: "Silent Night" (please remain seated)
     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 Saviour, 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.


BENEDICTION AND THREE FOLD AMEN
Go in peace,
And may the Lord God Almighty - the Father, the Son, and The Holy Spirit 
be with you and keep you safe in his love
both now and forevermore.  Amen


POSTLUDE


copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild, 2002 - 2005
             please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.



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