Christmas Eve Home Worship Guide

December 24, 2020


Thank you so much for joining us! The following page will take you through the order of worship for Christmas Eve.

We encourage you to use this guide to gather with your family or friends (perhaps online), in order to worship together.  A recorded sermon will be uploaded to this guide no later than 4 pm on Thursday. For the responsive readings, you may want to designate someone in your group to be the ‘leader’.

If you are new, welcome! We also want to invite you to learn more about us. You can do so by selecting the button below.

Time of Reflection

“We’re in a time where we exclude one major component out of this whole thing called life: God.”
~Kendrick Lamar, rapper, songwriter and producer

“We don’t have any control. And so, if you don’t have any control, then maybe everything you have is a gift.”
~Riz Ahmed, actor and rapper, speaking on NPR about the pandemic

“The Bible is God’s anthropology rather than man’s theology.”
~Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972), leading Jewish rabbi and theologian

“…the mystery…that Almighty God would come down…in the person of Jesus Christ and became one of us…. There is really nothing like that incredible social inversion of Almighty God coming here and living with us and dying with us.”
~Anne Rice, author of The Vampire Chronicles

“That a god should put up with adversity, I could understand. The gods of Hinduism face their fair share…. Adversity, yes. Reversals of fortune, yes. Treachery, yes. But humiliation? Death? I couldn’t imagine Lord Krishna consenting to be stripped naked, whipped, mocked, dragged through the streets and, to top it off, crucified…. [D]ivinity should not be blighted by death. It’s wrong…. The Son must have the taste of death forever in His mouth. The Trinity must be tainted by it; there must be a certain stench at the right hand of God the Father. The horror must be real. Why would God wish that upon Himself? Why not leave death to the mortals? Why make dirty what is beautiful, spoil what is perfect?

“Love. That was Father Martin’s answer.”
~ Pi’s response to hearing the Christian gospel in Yann Martel’s Life of Pi

“If you stumble at mere believability, what are you living for? Isn’t love hard to believe?”
~Yan Martel in Life of Pi

“Love is divine only and difficult always.”
~Toni Morrison (1935-2019), novelist and college professor

“Life is short. Death is sure. Sin the cause. Christ the cure.”
~Source Unknown

Opening Prayer

Time of Meditation

(Latin Hymn, trans. John M. Neale.  Music by Thomas Helmore)

O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel! Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Songs & Liturgy

Responsive Reading: Genesis 1 & John 1

LEADER: Christmas is a very old promise – a promise of God to bring light into our darkness. The Scriptures tell us: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

CONGREGATION: Then God said, “Let there be light”, and there was light. And God saw that the light was good.

LEADER: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.

CONGREGATION: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. And we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(Frederick Oakeley & John F. Wade, 1744)
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,
Oh sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest.

Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning,
Jesus, to thee be all glory given!
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing. (REFRAIN)
RESPONSIVE READING: Genesis 1-3, Isaiah 24, Galatians 4

LEADER: God created mankind in His own image to rule His creation, but the serpent tempted Adam and Eve to disobey God.

CONGREGATION: Therefore, a curse devours the earth and those who live in it are held guilty.

LEADER: To Adam God said, “Cursed is the ground because of you through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

CONGREGATION: But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born to redeem us from the curse of the law.
(Isaac Watts, 1719)
Joy to the world! The Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heav’n and nature sing, and heav’n and nature sing,

And heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing.
Joy to the earth! The Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy, repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found, far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse is found.

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, wonders of His love.
RESPONSIVE READING: Micah 5 & Isaiah 9

LEADER: The Prophets of old had foretold of a coming King that would break the yoke of oppression—that would loosen the bonds of sin and death. “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.”

CONGREGATION: For unto us a child is born and unto us a Son is given. And the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

LEADER: And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God and they will remain, because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth.

CONGREGATION: Let us join with all creation and worship this gentle King, born for us in Bethlehem.
(Phillips Brooks & Lewis H. Redner, 1868)
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 wond’ring 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 giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in– be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!
(William Dix, 1865)
What Child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping.

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
RESPONSIVE READING: Isaiah 52 & Matthew 2

LEADER: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

CONGREGATION: The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

LEADER: Now, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men came from the east…saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

CONGREGATION: And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.

LEADER: And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.

CONGREGATION: Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
(John H. Hopkins, Jr., 1857)
We three kings of Orient are;
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
following yonder star.

O star of wonder, star of night,
star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
guide us to thy perfect light.

Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain,
gold I bring, to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
Over us all to reign.

Frankincense to offer have I,
incense owns a Deity nigh.
Prayer and praising all folks raising,
worship Him God most High.

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

Glorious now behold Him arise,
King and God and sacrifice,
Alleluia, alleluia;
Earth to heaven replies.

Advent Reading

Luke 2:1-20 (ESV)

1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths 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,
and on earth peace among those with
whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.


(Traditional French carol & Traditional French melody)
Angels we have heard on high,
sweetly singing o’er the plains.
And the mountains in reply
echoing their joyous strains.
Glo——–ria, in excelsis Deo. (Repeat)

Come, to Bethlehem, and see,
Him whose birth the angels sing.
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord the new born King.
Glo——–ria, in excelsis Deo. (Repeat)
(Charles Wesley, 1739)
Hark! the Herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.”
Joyful all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem.”
Hark! The Herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King.”

Christ, by highest heav’n adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord:
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail th’ incarnate Deity!
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! The Herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King.”

Hail the heav’n born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild he lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! The Herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King.”

Come, Desire of Nations, come!
Fix in us Thy humble home:
Rise, the woman’s conq’ring seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Adam’s likeness now efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place;
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Hark! The Herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King.”

Christmas Eve Sermon

“Jesus, the Gift of a Cure”
preached by Pastor Don Willeman
Luke 2:8-12 (ESV)

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”


(Adolphe Adam, John S. Dwight, 1847)
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!
O night divine! O night when Christ was born,
O night divine! O night, O night divine!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains He shall break for the slave is our brother
And in His Name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy Name!
Christ is the Lord! O praise His name forever!
His pow’r and glory ever more proclaim!
His pow’r and glory ever more proclaim!
(Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber)
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,
Heav’nly 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.


2 Corinthians 4:6 and John 1:5

“For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

“And the light shines in the darkness. And the darkness could not overcome it.”