Summary: This series approaches the Christmas Story by examining the lives of those present from a very historical perspective. This is the Midnight Service that follows all four stories into the culmination of a candle lit service at Midnight.
“Midnight Mass 2009”
Our worship begins with the first note of our Gathering Music.
If you must whisper, let it be a prayer.
* CALL TO WORSHIP (Isaiah 9:6)
For a child has been born for us,
A son given to us;
Authority rests upon his shoulder, and he is named:
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,Prince of Peace.
* CALL TO CONFESSION
* PRAYER OF CONFESSION
God of grace and truth, in Jesus Christ you came among us as light shining in darkness. We confess that we have not welcomed the light, or trusted good news to be good. We have closed our eyes to glory in our midst, expecting little, and hoping for less. Forgive our doubt, and renew our hope, so that we may receive the fullness of your grace and live in the truth of Christ the Lord. (Moment for silence for personal confession) Amen.
* ASSURANCE OF PARDON
* GLORY TO GOD
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen, Amen.
* PASSING OF THE PEACE
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Almighty God, this holy night marks the start of something very special. Help us to know the peace of the coming of the Lord. Send the Holy Spirit to open our ears, open our minds, and open our hearts, to the message that you have for us this day. Amen.
Tonight is a worship service of light, as we approach Midnight… we get closer and closer to the one true light. With every candle lit… we remember one of the characters in the Nativity narrative. Their lives enlighten the message of hope, the message of love, the message of joy, and the message of peace for us this holy night.
Opening Scriptures: John 1:9-14
“The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
The First Candle is Lit (Remembering Mary)
26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." 34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" 35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God." 38 "I am the Lord’s servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.
Lighting the Candle
As we light the first candle… we remember Mary. We remember the young girl rejected by her community… shunned for her condition… placed in a terrible position. Yet she served… willingly… enthusiastically… she followed the call of God. We light this first candle, and remember how hard it was for Mary to follow the will God. May we be so inspired… as to follow the will of God in our own lives. Remembering Mary, we light the first candle. [Light the First Candle]
*SONG “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” #199
The Second Candle is Lit (Remembering the Shepherds)