Once every 5-6 years (depending on how leap years fall) Christmas Day falls on a Sunday. This year (2011) was one of those years. Our church chose to focus on a Christmas morning service this year instead of a Christmas Eve service.
As we gathered, we not only celebrated the birth of our Savior, but wrapped up our Advent series where we have been focusing on some of the things that came because of Christ’s birth. The final element was the coming of light that shined into the darkness of the world. Jesus lived a life of light. In fact, if you stop and think about it, it seems that the light of Jesus was noticed much more when we was doing the things of God as opposed to not doing the things of the world. That concept has great implications for us.
The Light of the world was born so that we could see the way back to God and become lights ourselves.
Here’s how we took time to remember and celebrate that:
Our service flow:
Opening Video: Rejoice, O Earth from Centerline New Media
Welcome and Proclamation
Focused on welcoming people and reminding us what happens when we gather and proclaim God’s greatness and goodness in life, worship, thanksgiving, Scripture, and prayer.
Responsive Reading: Jesus Is Born!
Joy to the World
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
The focus on these opening elements was to proclaim the birth of the Savior as the angels did.
Prayer / Psalm 145
Away in a Manger
We sang this as children were invited to come forward for a story time.
Children’s Story Time: The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
Message (John 1:1-14, Philippians 2:5-8)
Lighting of the Christ Candle
Glory in the Highest
O Come Let Us Adore Him
The focus of these songs was worshiping the newborn Christ as the shepherds did.
Connecting the coming of the wise men and our continued opportunity to give gifts to the King of kings
Sing (Wilson/Pardo) – Christmas version
Sung as a special during the offering.
Close: Matthew 5:14-16
- We had a “small” issue with the responsive reading element. Due to poor instruction on my part, the words did not end up being on the screen. Fortunately, I had someone else doing the leading part, and the congregational response lines were not complex, so I was able to coach the congregation through their part. It did loose a bit of its impact, though.
- Even though we ended by focusing on the light of the Christ candle, we didn’t end up passing the light around like at a Christmas Eve service. Call me crazy, but it seems a bit anti-climatic to pass the light around and watch it fill a room when the sun is shining in the windows. We also didn’t sing Silent Night for that reason.
- I’ve done opening videos on a couple of different weeks now. I’m noticing that this may not be the best place to put them. Instead of grabbing people’s attention, even though the lights are off and the volume is turned up, they seem to be viewed as pre-service background elements. I’ll have to give that some more consideration.
- You might also call me un-spiritual, but the jury is still out in my mind on whether or not this was the best choice. While the opportunity to gather on Christmas morning to celebrate the birth of our Savior should be a good thing, it seemed (to me) that many people’s thoughts were elsewhere and not necessarily fully present in the moment. Or maybe it was just me…
In whatever form your Christmas worship celebration took, I hope it was a joyous and festive occasion as you took time to gather with others.
See you next year!