Come, Let us Adore Him
Christmas Eve Worship
Introduction to Tonight's Plan
Like so much this year, Christmas is different. And, like every year, the hope and truth of Christmas remains the same. Perhaps this year more than most, stripping back all the trappings of the season allows us to gaze more deeply on the significance of this occasion. This Night. The arrival of the Christ child. This is Christmas–the celebration of the Incarnation of our Lord. Come, Let Us Adore Him!
Elements for Preparation
Helpful Ideas to Make the Most of this Devotion Time
The hope for this worshipful journey is that you encounter Christ in a meaningful way. On this page are reflections, questions, and opportunities for you to participate–all as a journey towards encountering Jesus. Here are a few helpful thoughts as you prepare to engage in this worship experience.
First, adapt this as you need to for your situation. If your family doesn’t provide the attention span to participate in all parts, do as much as you are comfortable with your family.
Second, with all that has transpired this year collectively–and for you personally–it is important to provide space to let the disappointments and challenges linger. It feels disingenuous and misses the point if we rush through the hardships in hopes of clinging to Christmas traditions and feelings that are typical. This year has forced us to adapt–let’s not pretend that everything is as usual. Instead, as we wrestle with the challenges, I truly believe, we will see a clearer picture of Christ in our midst. And, Christ in our midst is the real message of Christmas..
Third, as we did with Maundy Thursday, I’ve set up tonight to have space for a meal together. Eating together is a central part of life. And, the discussion questions during the dinner table will invite you into a meaningful conversation about the story of our salvation. Of course, eating a meal together is not a requirement for these questions, but I believe they are an important part of experiencing our faith together today. As you are able, make a big deal out of this meal. Bring out the fine dishes, light the candles, eat in the dining room–anything you can do to celebrate the significance. Do what makes sense for your family and situation.
With each section there are readings, discussion questions, and other elements. Adapt according to your context.
the Story of Old
Gather in a comfortable spot–but have a picture of a parent or grandparent with you.
Let your family know when you will begin this devotional time early in the day so that people are ready.
If you are isolated alone–first, know that you are not! Several options: phone a friend; journal; paint or draw a reflection; write a poem; write out your prayers.
Have dinner ready before you begin so that you can move to the dinner portion after this initial stage.
Have everyone gather with their own Bible or use a family bible to read from together.
If you have young children, have paper and crayons for some coloring according to the stories.
Consider having one Candle that will travel with you throughout the night as a way to help focus attention.
Begin in the Name of
the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
Invite someone to open with this prayer.
Almighty God, you made this holy night shine with the brightness of the true Light. Grant that here on earth we may walk in the light of Jesus’ presence and in the last day wake to the brightness of his glory. We pray, Lord Jesus, that these things we bring to worship in this time may be pleasing in your sight as we encounter you in our midst. This, we prayer, through the power of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
The Sacred Story
Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz: “Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Isaiah 9:2, 6-7
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Other Prophecies about jesus
- Psalm 2:7
- Proverbs 30:4
- Hosea 11:1
- Micah 5:1-3
- Psalm 40:6-8
- Isaiah 11:1-10
- Isaiah 40:3-4
- Isaiah 53:3
- Daniel 7:13-14
- Zechariah 9:9
This portion of our Sacred Story reminds us that Jesus comes to us from a story. He was foreshadowed; longed for; and appointed from the dawn of time. But these words from the prophet Isaiah remind us that Jesus does not come to us from a vacuum–but arrives as a part of a larger story. But, even in this, every story–including those from before his birth–is really and truly about Him. As Sally Lloyd-Jones says, ‘Every story whispers his name.’
- With a picture of a relative–maybe one who is no longer living–reflect on the lessons you learned from this loved one and how their life still impacts your own.
- Are there any character traits that you share with your loved one in the photograph?
- Immanuel means “God with us.” Think back on the last 10 months–when was a time when you sensed God was with you in a real way?
- When was a time that it would have been helpful to sense in a more real way that God was with you?
- Reflect on moments of darkness and moments of light over the past year.
- Jesus is given titles of Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace–which of these titles resonates with you tonight and why?
- This Christmas is different than most–what are some family traditions that you will miss the most this year?
- Pick one of the other prophecy scriptures, read it, and then see if you can tell how Jesus fulfills that prophecy.
- These Old Testament verses are all about Jesus. You are part of a story that started before you were born. What do you know about how your parents met–or how you grandparents met? Tell some stories from those days long ago.
The Story Unfolds
Move to your table and to the meal. If you have a formal dinning room, use it tonight.
Hopefully you had help setting the table earlier!
If you have a candle, set it in the middle of the table and use it to light other candles. Always remember, You never tip a lighted candle 😉 And, if you have an Advent Wreath–this is the night we light them all.
Use this time to retell stories that are foundational to your family
If you are isolated alone, set up an empty chair at your table. Consider Jesus to be dining with you tonight. Have a conversation with Him and listen to His word for you this night.
Bless your Meal
As you eat your meal, I’d like you to ponder this truth. Bethlehem, in Hebrew, means House of Bread. As you break bread this day, I invite you to think on the significance that the Bread of Life was born in a city called the House of Bread.
The Sacred Story
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 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, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 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.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 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. 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. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths 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,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
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.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
- The birth of Jesus is a story that is so familiar we often rush past the details. Go back through the story and pick out one or two details that stand out.
- Of the various people in The Story, which do you connect with most: Mary; Joseph; The Shepherds; the Angels? Why?
- Pray through the message of the multitude, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” What element of this proclamation stands out the most for you?
- “Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” What element of the Christmas story do you ponder the most?
Family Reflection Questions
During your dinner, share and tell stories. Here are some questions to help get you started
- Talk about an important family recipe that has been key to your families important meals together.
- Once everything is deemed safe with Covid, where will be the first restaurant you go to for a sit down meal?
- Who will be around the table with you at that meal?
- What Christmas tradition do you miss the most this year?
- Tell a travel story when everything went wrong.
At the End of your Dinner, watch and listen to this reflection
The Story Today
The Sacred Story
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 were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
Lighting of the Candles
As you have gone through this worship experience, light has been a source of strength, warmth, and comfort. I invite you to know turn off all of your lights and extinguish all of your candles but one. Let one lone light shine. Focus your eyes and heart upon this light. What does it mean that, even in the darkness, your lights are drawn in and your heart is warmed by its glow. With all that has been difficult and challenging for you this year, what does it mean that the candle–the light of Christ–continues to glow.
With this candle lit, look back on the year that has been. What were some of the greatest challenges you faced? The heaviest hardships you were forced to carry? What was your greatest disappointment of events and gatherings that were cancelled? Now, for a moment, ponder about the light of Christ in the midst of those hardships?
Where did you see the light of Christ? Where did the surprise blessing of God catch you off guard? When was a moment where the light shone through the darkness?
Now, rest in this powerful truth. The One who has seen you through the darkest nights of your past is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He will see you through your next darkest moments just the same. This is who our Lord is: The Light that shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome him. And, He is in you. That means that the darkness cannot and will not overcome you either! Thanks be to God.
With all this and more, I invite you to listen to this beautiful version of Silent Night, performed by Andrew and Leslie Kollmeyer.
The Lord's Prayer
Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.
Some Closing Words
It is my hope that our Lord Jesus met you in powerful ways through this devotion and worship time. These are Holy Days–This is a Holy Night. As we celebrate the Incarnation of Our Lord, we are worshipping the one who stepped out of His glory in heaven to come down to us. To come down to you. Although everything is different, His truth, presence, and love remains unchanged. Whatever your circumstances this Christmas Season–know that you are loved by the one who hung the stars in the sky. He knows how many hairs are on your head. He knows the pain in your heart. And he provides hope, peace, and comfort even in the most challenging of circumstances.
Merry Christmas! And may you be blessed by the Christ Child this day and always.
In the Name Of Christ Jesus, our Lord.