Summary: A Christmas Eve Service including music suggestions and dramatic elements
Christmas Eve Service
I. Welcome and Opening Prayer.
II. Opening Song.
III. Scene One: Introduction
(Small Nativity Scene)
Every year we are frustrated as we hear of another protest against the display of nativity scenes on public property. We are angered by these protests because deep down in our Christian hearts we know that those cute little Nativity displays represent something very special. And we know that the world around us is missing out on the grand meaning of the Babe in the manger.
But sadly most Christians miss out on the grand meaning of the manger scene a well. We are too busy preparing for Christmas to really take the time to consider the meaning of the manger. So tonight, before we rush off to Christmas Eve celebrations and preparations for Christmas morning and Christmas dinner we want to help you pause and consider the meaning of the manger.
• Why was this child born in a stable?
• Why the shepherds, the angels, the wisemen?
• Why was this young woman, Mary, chosen to become one of history’s most famous and beloved women?
• And what about Joseph?
• But most of all why the child?
To discover the answer to these questions we will have to take the same journey as the shepherds, the wisemen, and even Mary and Joseph. We need to travel to Bethlehem. We need to look upon the child that the shepherds adored, that the angels rejoiced over, that the wisemen honored, that Joseph delivered and that Mary held to her bosom. We must go back in time. There are rumors that a miracle has taken place this night. Are you ready to investigate? 2,000 years ago the Shepherds said, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Are you ready to make that journey?
IV. O’ Little Town of Bethlehem.
V. Scene Two: Why the Prophecies? (One dressed as a prophet comes forth at the time and reads the Scripture.)
As we travel through time to Jerusalem we are struck by the preparations that God made for His Son’s arrival. God had been preparing for the manger for some 6,000 years. Every page of God’s history, from Genesis to Malachi, seems to tremble with the wondrous anticipation of His coming. It is amazing that there are over 300 specific prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the promised Messiah—the Babe in the manger.
We find in these prophecies the entire life story of Christ. His birth, his ministry, even his death and resurrection are foretold. As we approach Bethlehem let us hear the voice of prophets as God prepares for the greatest event in history.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.
Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope."
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: "He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him."
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Why all this preparation for the manger? Why the prophecies? So that we might have the assurance that this Babe in the manger is much more than just a Babe in a manger. Why the prophecies? So that we might know that this Babe in the manger is truly, to borrow the words of the prophet Isaiah, the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6).
VI. Congregational Song: How Great Thou Art