Summary: This is a Midnight worship candlelighting service for Christmas Eve.
“Midnight Mass 2008”
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. Each candle lit… sheds its own light on 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 Flame for the Faithful (The Prophets)
This amazing gift of light was foretold long before that first Christmas. The prophets had long prophesied the coming of our King… the coming of our savior… the coming of the one true light.
“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.”
Wisemen also foretold his coming, as they saw the star and understood what it meant. They knew that the new king had been born!
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “For this is what the prophet has written: “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their county by another route.”