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Emmanuel, God-with-us


Here are resources for worship on Christmas Eve.


Isaiah 9:2-7
Isaiah 52:7-10
Isaiah 62:6-12
Luke 2:1-20
John 1:1-14
Hebrews 1:1-12


Christmas Eve Candle-lighting Litany

Immanuel, God-with-us,
interrupt and open our eyes to the wonder of this night,
that we might catch a glimpse of your glory
in the simplicity of these moments.
May your light shine!
(First advent candle is lit.)

Immanuel, God-with-us,
interrupt and soften our hearts to the message of this hour,
that we might turn toward you,
and have the way prepared in us for your coming.
May your light shine!
(Second advent candle is lit.)

Immanuel, God-with-us,
interrupt and open our minds to truly listen to all
who speak and sing this evening,
that we might hear your voice cry out from many lips.
May your light shine!
(Third advent candle is lit.)

Immanuel, God-with-us,
interrupt and fill our spirits
with the courage to admit when we are lost
and the insight to recognize that we have been found.
May your light shine!
(Fourth advent candle is lit.)

Immanuel, God-with-us,
with eyes open, hearts softened, minds listening, and spirits full,
we rejoice that you interrupt what we have in mind
in order to bring into being something more than we dare imagine.
May your light shine! Amen.
(Center Christ candle is lit.)

~ Peter L. Haynes. Posted in the Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren website.

Prayer: Joy To The World

It may seem naive,
in a world of grief,
to choose to live in joy;

It may seem foolish,
in a world where solemnity is power,
to sing and dance to a different tune;
It may seem cruel,
in a world of suffering and injustice,
to speak of light and celebration;

But you have come, Jesus,
to bring joy into our grief,
light into our darkness,
singing into our mourning;
and it is an act of healing and proclamation
to believe and embrace the joy you offer.
Joy to the world!
The Lord is come!


~ Copyright © 2010 John van de Laar, on Sacredise.com.

Prayer: Lost and Found at Christmas

This Christmas, you come as a Saviour to the lost.
We gather here, we who have lost heart,
lost hope, lost patience, lost time.
We have lost innocence, we are losing the race,
we feel like lost souls.

This Christmas, we want to be finding you--
finding you in the silence of the gray morning
and in the sweet smile of a child;
finding you in the dark starry sky
and in the warm handshake of a friend;
finding you in the familiar Christmas narrative
and in the story of a stranger;
finding you in our own hearts
and in the face of our enemies.

Immanuel, God with us,
we wait for your presence this Christmas;
help us to give with generous hearts
and receive with thankfulness.
Give us patience in the face of irritation
and kindness in the face of anger;
fill us with contentment and peace
and remove all jealousy from us.
May our celebration of your birth
give honour to you in all we say and do
and may we enter the New Year
refreshed and recommitted to your service.


~ written by Carol Penner, and posted on Leading in Worship.

Christmas Prayer

Lord, we thank you for the birth of your Son.
Help us to prepare again for his coming:
to prepare inwardly, in our hearts,
and outwardly, in our world.

We do not only commemorate the birth of Jesus,
but celebrate his presence and his continued rebirth in our hearts.
We not only celebrate the meaning of his life for our world,
but rejoice at his continued presence and involvement in it.

We thank you for that moment 2000 years ago,
and for this moment, and for those to come,
when the miracle happens again,
and the Unseen, Unheard but not Unknown occurs,
and he is here and with us yet again.
In Jesus’ name.


~ from Banquet of Praise, copyright © 1990 Bread for the World.

Spoken Resources

Christmas Eve Call to Worship

Time to turn off the cell phones. Time to put the pagers on stun. It’s even time to put a piece of duct tape on the face of your watch. It’s Christmas Eve and time is standing still for a moment.

It is the time, maybe the only time of the year, when here and now drift away and we fall under the spell of story-time.

Tonight we are both here, AND on a lonely hillside outside of Bethlehem.

Tonight, we are with each other, friends and family, returning students and relatives from far away, AND we are also with the Magi, on a journey and such a hard time for journey.

Tonight we listen to our choir, AND we listen to choirs of angels, a whole heavenly host of angels we have heard on high.

Tonight, like every night, is new, a never happening before moment in onrushing time, AND yet, we have been here before, done this before, told this story before, and heard it before.

There is a way that the story we tell tonight is always happening: birth and death and taxes, weary travelers with no place to stay, babies born, sudden signs of grace and glory and surprising generosity.

The past and the present are closely woven tonight, and we sense the presence of our own eternal selves, our souls perhaps, with our everyday selves tonight.

And when, at this evening’s end, we pass a visible sign of grace, the light of a candle, from hand to hand, we will see the radiance and beauty of one another, as seen through the eyes of a timeless love.

Come, it is Christmas Eve, let us worship together.

~ written by Tom Schade, on the lively tradition blog.

Entry into Celebration (inspired by Isaiah 9:2, John 1:1, 14)

The impossible is about to happen in a stable.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
Those who lived in a land of deep darkness,
on them has the light shined!

This is the evening when creation stood still and held its breath,
for God was doing the most unbelievable, dangerous thing.
This is the evening when God embraced humanity
from the inside, as one of us, from birth to death.

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
full of grace and truth.


~ written by Bruce Prewer, and posted on Bruce Prewer’s Homepage.


Traditional Hymn: Oh, How Joyfully

Worship Together #295

Oh, how joyfully, oh, how hopefully,
waits the earth on Christmas eve!
Love comes healing, God revealing.
Friends, be joyful and believe!

Oh, how joyfully, oh, how peacefully,
sleeps the earth on Christmas Eve!
Sins are covered, grace discovered.
In our darkness shines the light!

Oh, how joyfully, oh, how thankfully,
wakes the earth on Christmas morn!
God has spoken, death is broken.
Alleluia! Christ is born!

~ Johann D. Falk, stanza 1; Henrich Holzschuher, stanzas 2 and 3. Translated by Harris Loewen, re-envisioned by Brian Wren. Words copyright 1991 Hope Publishing Co. If you use this text in worship, be sure to report it on your CCLI license.

Contemporary Hymn: The World is Hushed with Wonder

The world is hushed with wonder,
all heaven with rapture rings;
our hearts draw near the stable
where lies the King of Kings.
If we God's love would know,
come, see in Bethlehem's manger
God made for us so low!

He laid aside his glory,
his royal rights put by;
he took on him our nature
and came to earth to die.
If we God's love would know,
come, see as man among us
God made for us so low!

Our sin it was that called him
from rainbow-circled throne;
his cross and resurrection
our death have overthrown.
If we God's love would know,
come, see in Calvary's conflict
God spoiling man's last foe!

As now we bow before you,
O conquering Christ, we pray
to know in all its fulness
your risen life each day--
may we your triumph show!
Be now in us exalted,
once made for us low!

We worship you, Lord Jesus,
supreme at God's right hand;
you live and reign transcendent,
all power at your command.
Our all to you we bring,
with hearts and lives adore you,
our Savior, Lord and King!

~ Margaret Clarkson. Copyright © 1987 Hope Publishing Company. If you use this hymn in worship, be sure to report it on your CCLI license.

Tune suggestion:
LASST UNS ERFREUEN (“Lo, how a rose e’er blooming”)

Contemporary Song: Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground)

What hope we hold this starlit night
A King is born in Bethlehem
Our journey long we seek the light
That leads to the hallowed manger ground

Emmanuel Emmanuel
God incarnate here to dwell
Emmanuel Emmanuel
Praise His name Emmanuel

What fear we felt in the silent age
Four-hundred years can He be found
But broken by a baby's cry
Rejoice in the hallowed manger ground

The Son of God here born to bleed
A crown of thorns would pierce His brow
And we beheld this offering
Exalted now the King of kings
Praise God for the hallowed manger ground

~ Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash. Copyright © 2009 worshiptogether.com songs (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing) sixsteps Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing) Vamos Publishing (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing) Wondrously Made Songs (a div of Wondrous Worship & Llano Music, LLC (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.). CCLI Song # 5601640. If you use this song in worship, be sure to report it on your CCLI license.

Listen to it here: http://www.worshiptogether.com/songs/songdetail.aspx?iid=1724700

Contemporary Song: Silent Night (Emmanuel)

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

O come, O come Emmanuel
And ransom captive hearts that fell
Bring peace on Earth and love’s goodwill
To everyone
For You so loved the world You gave
Your life for us to heal and save
We see the echoes of Your grace
To everyone

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
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth

~ Matt Maher. Copyright © Thankyou Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing) spiritandsong.com (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing). CCLI Song #5319138. If you use this song in worship, be sure to report it on your CCLI license.

Listen to it here: http://www.worshiptogether.com/songs/songdetail.aspx?iid=1032974


image00~ Adoration of the Shepherds, Bartolome Esteban Murillo, 1655


This worship resource was created/compiled by Christine Longhurst. You are welcome to use it free of charge, and where appropriate, please note the source. If you are printing any of the resources for distribution, please print the source as well. The content of the worship resource does not necessarily represent the views of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, which oversees the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies. For more worship resources by Christine Longhurst, see http://www.re-worship.blogspot.ca or http://www.faithmatters.ca.

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