Welcome to the Rockburn Church Christmas Eve Candlelight Service.
We are so very blessed to have the freedom to gather together to worship in this beautiful sanctuary.
2015 has been a wonderful year in Rockburn…lots of love, caring and fellowship!
Thanks be to God!
A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO NANCY & RANDY AND EVERYONE INVOLVED IN THIS EVENING’S SERVICE.
THANK YOU FOR JOINING US!
CHRISTMAS LITURGY & LIGHTING OF THE CHRIST CANDLE:
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus and rejoice in His coming to us, we light the Christ candle.
(Christ candle is lit)
Jesus Christ is our hope. He is our peace. Jesus Christ is our joy. He is love, pure, holy, undying love.
Whoever believes in Him will never perish, but have eternal life.
Tonight we celebrate! For unto us is born a Child. To the world a Child is given. Christ, our Morning Star and Prince of Peace, is the Light for the world. From the light of this one life, all of God’s children receive the Light and are blessed with saving grace and joy.
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
PROCESSIONAL: “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” verses 1 & 2
INTROIT: “Gloria” Choir
GREETING: The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the shadows of death Light has dawned. Jesus Christ is our Life and Light. In Christ’s grace, let us worship God.
“O Holy Night” Nancy Campbell
CALL TO WORSHIP: Let us go, just as we are, to see what has happened. Let us go with the shepherds. Let us go and find the One of whom the angels sing. Let us go with those who are wise. Let us go and find the One who brings God’s truth to us. Let us go with the poor in spirit; let us go with those who are humbled by life. Let us find the Glory of God born in a stable, and placed in a manger. Let us go with our friends and family, with our neighbours and with strangers. Let us go with all children of God. Let us go to find the One who comes to lead us home to God’s kingdom. O come, let us go to the Babe of Bethlehem. O come, let us adore Him! Christ our Lord!
CAROL: “O Come All Ye Faithful” verses 1 & 2
PRAYER: Gracious God, with joy and thanksgiving we gather as Your people. We have come to hear again the timeless story of Christ’s birth. In the excitement of this night, quiet our hearts that we may know the peace and fullness of this Holy time. Shine, O Light, in the darkness of our world. Sing, O angels, in the stillness of our hearts, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among all.” Eternal God, as You came to the world in the birth of the Christ Child, come to us this night. Come into our hearts and shine Your light upon our path. As You brought Your Hope, Your Peace, Your Joy and Your Love to the world in the form of the Babe of Bethlehem, so bring to us His radiance and help us to glorify both Him and You. We ask that the fullness of His might live in us, and that at His name every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that He is Lord. This we pray in the name of the Child of Bethlehem. Amen.
OFFERING: We prepare to receive the world’s greatest gift by giving. “Give and it shall be given unto you” is God’s promise. We will now receive the offering.
Offering received: Choir: “Holy Night” & “Ring Joy, Sing Joy”
Loving God, may these offerings bring hope, peace joy and love to others who seek a better life for themselves. Use our gifts to do justice in a world of neglect and indifference. May the coming of the Christ Child inspire others to give abundantly. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
THE BIRTH OF JESUS: (Part 1) Tonight is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth. Let us hear again the glad story of how God chose to be among us and keep the promises that He made to the world.
In those days a decree went out that every man had to go to the city of his ancestors to have his name and the names of his household registered. Both Mary and Joseph were of the house of David, and the city of David was Bethlehem. So Joseph had to go there and Mary went with him. Mary may have said to Joseph, “I’ll go with you, because the Baby Jesus must be born, not in Nazareth, but in Bethlehem.
CAROL: “Once In Royal David’s City” verses 1& 2
THE BIRTH OF JESUS: (Part 2) Bethlehem was a little city, and the inn was crowded with all the people who had come to be registered. When Joseph and Mary came and asked for a place to sleep, the innkeeper said, “I haven’t a place left. All the room is taken up.” But Mary looked so tired and worn with the long journey, that he said at last, “You can go and sleep in the stable, if you want to.” So they lay down on the straw near the animals and went to sleep. Nobody knew, or could even suppose, that these two humble travelers from Galilee were sent of heaven, and that that night would see the most important event in the history of the world, the birth of the Messiah, the Son of God.
And in the night the Baby Jesus was born. O happy night and Holy night! For this Babe was the Saviour of the world. And His mother wrapped Him in soft clothes and laid Him in a manger, where the cows and oxen were fed.
CAROL: “Away In A Manger” verse 1
THE ANGELS AND THE SHEPHERDS: (Part 1) That night, out on the hills of Bethlehem, there were shepherds keeping watch over their flocks. Suddenly it was light! Lighter and lighter it grew, until a glory greater than the sun shone round about them. They looked up, and there, come down from the sky, stood the angel of the Lord.
And the angel said, “I bring you good news of great joy. For today, in the city of David, a Saviour is born for you, who is your Messiah. And this will prove it to you; you will find a baby wrapped up and lying in a manger.”
When the angels were gone away out of sight into heaven, the shepherds sat for awhile, stunned. Then they roused themselves and said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem, and see this thing which has come to pass.”
CAROL: “While Shepherds Watched” verses 1 & 6
THE ANGELS AND THE SHEPHERDS: (Part 2) The shepherds left their sheep and came into Bethlehem. And they came to the door of the stable and entered in. In the dawning light they looked, and there, as the angel had told them, they found Mary and Joseph and the Babe lying in a manger. They knelt down before the manger and worshipped the Baby, for they knew this was the Messiah, the Christ, this little Lord Jesus.
CAROL: “Angels From The Realms Of Glory” verses 1 & 2
A CHRISTMAS GREETING: The theme of “A Christmas Greeting” is based on a familiar Christmas tradition, sending greeting cards. The custom of sending Christmas cards was started in the United Kingdom in 1843. The cards became more and more popular and were produced in large numbers from about 1860. The first cards usually had pictures of the Nativity scene on them. In 1915, John C. Hall and two of his brothers created Hallmark cards, who are still one of the biggest card makers today.
Christmas is a time for remembering, remembering God’s gift of a Saviour, and remembering our friends and loved ones. One way to do this is to send Christmas cards and letters. Christmas cards and e-cards find their way into houses of friends and families across the country, cards decorated with manger scenes, mistletoe, Santa Clauses and shepherds stream into our homes throughout the Christmas season.
Tonight, we’d like to present to you some living Christmas cards. We hope they will bring you a special message full of Christmas peace and joy.
“A Christmas Greeting” Choir
(Display Christmas tree card)
One of the most popular pictures for Christmas cards is a Christmas tree.
(Three children decorate a Christmas tree; Grace places a star on the tree)
Hudson: Hey, that doesn’t go there!
Grace: What do you mean?
Hudson: The star goes on top of the tree. Don’t you know anything about Christmas trees?
Grace: What’s to know about Christmas trees? They’re either real or plastic. You drag them into your living room, hang some fancy decorations on them, maybe throw on a little tinsel, and presto, you have your basic Christmas tree.
Hudson: In Sunday school we learned that the Christmas tree represents Jesus. Its leaves don’t turn brown and die in the winter like other kinds of trees. Jesus’ love for us is like the evergreen. It never fades. And Jesus lives forever and gives us everlasting life, too!
When the tree is decorated, it has lots of coloured lights on it. It was Jesus who said, “I am the Light of the World.”
Besides, after it’s all decorated it looks great and makes everyone in the family happy. And that’s what Jesus does, He makes us happy!
Grace: So you’re saying that the Christmas tree is supposed to be more than just a hunk of wood or plastic sitting in a living room?
Hudson: That’s right. It should remind us that Jesus was born to give us joy and everlasting life!
Bentley: Jesus is the reason for the season!
CAROL: “O Christmas Tree” verse 1
(Display Caroling card) Another Christmas card we receive may have a picture of carolers. Caroling began in the Middle Ages when people acted out the Nativity scene. Carols were a big part of the plays and after the service the carolers strolled down the street still singing their Christmas songs. And that’s how caroling was born.
(Wearing scarves (& hats optional) carolers stroll through the sanctuary as they sing)
“God Rest You Merry Gentlemen”
“It Came Upon The Midnight Clear”
CAROL: “O Little Town Of Bethlehem” verse 1
(Display Wise Men card)
The Wise Men are pictured on many cards. These mysterious visitors came from the East. We usually think about them being right at the stable. We sometimes forgot about all the miles they traveled and all the dangers they probably had to face. What might have their trip been like?
CAROL: “We Three Kings” verse 1
(Wise Men enter during song & walk around sanctuary, then leave)
(Display cards from foreign countries)
Germany: “Frohliche Weinachten”
Mexico: “Feliz Navidad”
France: “Joyeux Noel”
Sweden: “God Yul”
Italy: “Buon Natale”
England: “Happy Christmas”
Merry Christmas! Some of us may receive cards from foreign countries this year. Or maybe we’ll send a card to Germany, Mexico, Italy or England. Christmas cards travel from one end of the earth to the other to bring good wishes for the holiday season.
CAROL: “What Child Is This?” verses 1 & 2
(Nativity characters enter and take places)
(Display manger card)
There are many symbols and scenes that have become a part of our Christmas celebrations year after year: carolers, Christmas trees, Wise Men following the star, and many others. But of course, the reason for all the celebrations and symbols is the birth of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Jesus is the reason we are here tonight. Because He still lives within us, we celebrate His birth by giving gifts, singing songs, and sending Christmas cards. Because over 2000 years ago in a dark and dusty manger, surrounded by warm beasts, a baby was born.
The baby was so tiny, not like a king at all. But very important people, who were themselves kings, traveled many, many miles from far away countries just to see Him and to bring Him presents. They were very tired, but very happy, too, because the bright and shimmering star they had followed for so long had finally led them to the place where they could see and touch the Baby King. (Wise Men kneel and touch Baby) They gave Him the presents they had carried for such a long time. (Wise Men rise and give gifts to Mary & Joseph and kneel before them) Mary and Joseph were very happy too. They knew that Jesus was important but now they were very glad to know that others had heard how special He was. (Shepherds kneel and touch Baby) Even the stable animals were happy. They could share their warm stable and its sweet smelling hay with the Saviour of the world. Shepherds and Wise Men, sheep and cattle, they were all happy because they all loved the Holy Child.
“Baby Jesus, Holy Child” Choir
The star over the tiny stable cast silvery streaks of light on the roof where Jesus lay. The Baby yawned a big yawn, as only babies can, and curled His tiny fists a little tighter. He probably took a little nap just like any other baby might. But He wasn’t like any other baby who ever lived or any baby yet to be born. He was God’s own Son. He came into the world to show us how we ought to live. And when He grew up He showed us how we can know God. Jesus is a lot like that star with its light so bright, shining down on the stable in Bethlehem. And His light still shines for us today.
CAROL: “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly”
Infant Holy, Infant lowly, for a bed a cattle stall, Oxen lowing, little knowing Christ the Babe is Lord of all. Swift are winging angels singing, Nowells ringing, tidings bringing, Christ the babe is Lord of all. Christ the babe is Lord of all.
We should all follow Jesus’ example and spread a little light into the world around us. Tonight we have shared with you our Christmas greeting. But we can all send Christmas greetings year in and year out by living the messages of the hope, peace, joy and love they bring to others.
“A Christmas Greeting” Choir
CHRISTMAS LITURGY & LIGHTING OF THE CHRIST CANDLE:
SOLO: “Silent Night” in three languages Joe Hevesy
CAROL: “Silent Night” verses 1, 2 & 3
BENEDICTION: May you be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the determination of the Wise Men and the peace of the Christ Child. Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, bless you now and forever. Amen.
CLOSING CAROL: “Joy To The World” verses 1 & 2
“The best of all Christmas gifts around any
Christmas tree is the presence of a happy
family all wrapped up in each other.”