Christmas Eve Service  

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Glen Arm, Maryland

December 24, 2007
7:00 pm


(Logistics: Pulpit and lectern are moved to another room, wood cover is put over baptismal. Worship Center table has Advent wreath on top and empty manger underneath. Readers sit on side end of each pew, standing in front of the post - with a mic on stand and a flashlight – when they read/pray. Characters in appropriate costume needed [in order of appearance]: Isaiah [very brief], Mary, angel, Joseph, Shepherds [how many?], more angels [how many?], 3 wise men.) Lighting is solely by candles, flashlights, extra lighting for organ/other instrumentalists, and spotlight from balcony. All words to hymns are projected onto screen, therefore no need for hymnals. Someone is needed in first pew to run the LCD projector. Back-up person needs to be ready to turn ceiling lights – bottom portion only – on and off in case of technical glitch.)



          - “Noel”                                                 Guilmant

          - “The Quiet Hills of Bethlehem”             Hughes
          - “Winds of a Holy Night”                       Paxton
          - “Away in a Manger”                             Mueller, Murray, Hume


Words of Welcome


Scripture – John 1:1-5
            1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.


Hymn – “O come, all ye faithful” 212

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.  
Come and behold him, born the king of angels.

O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord.

O sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation,
sing, all ye citizens of heaven above;
glory to God all glory in the highest.  (Refrain)


(family lighting the Advent wreath and Christ candle, processes forward on last verse of previous song with a lit candle)


Advent Wreath - Lighting the Christ Candle

(2 readers begin, family divides up who lights which candle)

1 - The season of Advent is coming to an end and Christmas begins.

2 - We light, one last time, the candle of Preparation.

(light the first candle)

1 - We light, again, the candle of Anticipation.

(light the second candle)

2 - We light, once more, the candle of Invitation.

(light the third candle)

1 - We re-light the candle of Proclamation.

(light the fourth candle)

2 - And now we light the most important one,

1 - the candle of Incarnation,

2 - the Christ Candle.

(light the center candle)


Scripture – John 1:14

            14And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.


(Advent wreath family returns to their seats as we sing. During this next hymn, the characters quietly move into place. Isaiah is on stage left, [non-pregnant] Mary is center stage, and Joseph is stage right. The angel stands between Mary and Joseph, at first close to Mary.)


Hymn – “What child is this”   215

What child is this, who, laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping,
whom angels greet with anthems sweet, while shepherds watch are keeping?  
This, this is Christ the king, whom shepherds guard and angels sing.  
Haste, haste to bring him laud, the babe, the son of Mary!  
Why lies he in such mean estate where ox and ass are feeding?  
Good Christian, fear, for sinners here the silent Word is pleading.  
Nails, spear shall pierce him through, the cross be borne for me, for you
Hail, hail the Word made flesh, the babe, the son of Mary! 


Opening Prayer   (on back of bulletin, one person - not in unison)

It is time for us

            to turn on the light, O God.

We stand amidst a dark world

            of hatred and violence, of oppression and persecution.

We stumble over each other

as we might stumble in a dark room,

thwarted by competition and blame,

fear and arrogance,

when all we need to do is reach out

for a solid foundation,

for a reassuring touch,

with a listening ear,

with a voice of solidarity –

a shining light that the darkness cannot overcome.

On this holy night,

enlighten us with your light, O God.

May your Word guide us

as the star guided those travelers long ago

to a stable bursting with welcome and love.

And may we have the courage

to turn on the light,

illuminating the world with your light,

your life,

your love,

and your peace. Amen

by Melissa Bennett, pastor for worship and youth
 Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren, Fort Wayne, IN
 Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
 Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, “The Living Word Series”


(Spotlight opens up on the prophet Isaiah.)


Scripture - Isaiah 9:2,6

            2The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness - on them light has shined... 6For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.


Hymn – “Lo, how a rose e’er blooming”   211

Lo, how a Rose ever blooming from tender stem has sprung!  
Of Jesse’s lineage coming as saints of old have sung.  
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
when half-spent was the night.  
Isaiah ‘twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind.  
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.  
To show God’s love aright, she bore to us a savior,
when half-spent was the night. 


(Spotlight shifts to Mary and the angel. Isaiah quietly exits.)


Scripture - Luke 1:26-38

            26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.29But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30The angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.

            34Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?35The angel said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.’ 38Then Mary said, Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.Then the angel departed from her.


Solo/Ensemble – “The angel Gabriel”  180

The angel Gabriel from heaven came,
his wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame.  
“All hail,” said he, “thou lowly maiden Mary,
most highly favored lady,” gloria!  
“For known as blessed mother thou shalt be,
all generations laud and honor thee.  
Thy son shall be Immanuel by seers foretold,
most highly favored lady,” gloria!  
Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head,
“To me be as it pleaseth God,” she said.  
“My soul shall laud and magnify his holy name.”
most highly favored lady,” gloria!


(Mary quietly exits as spotlight shifts to Joseph, with angel moved close to him. Meanwhile, Mary stuffs pillow in costume.)


Scripture -  Matthew 1:18-24

            18Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.22All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,which means,God is with us.24When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife…


(Spotlight goes off, Joseph exits during hymn and heads to be with now ‘pregnant’ Mary in the back of the sanctuary.)


Hymn – “O come, O come, Immanuel”   172

(solo on verses, with congregation on the refrain)

O come, O come, Immanuel, and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice!  Rejoice!  
Immanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Wisdom from on high, and order all things far and nigh.  
To us the path of knowledge show, and cause us in thy ways to go.  (Refrain)
O come, Desire of nations, bind all peoples in one heart and mind.  
Bid envy, strife, and quarrels cease. Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace. (Refrain)


(As scripture is read, Joseph and Mary process up center aisle, him holding a glowing lantern. Spotlight picks them up ¾ of the way forward and follows the rest of the way. When up front they come to stage center. Joseph pulls manger out from under worship table and they sit on either side of it for the rest of the service. Soft spotlight on them – make sure it doesn’t shine on area above baptismal.)


Scripture -  Luke 2:1-6

            1In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 4Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.


Hymn – “O little town of Bethlehem”   191

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!  
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.  
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light;
the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.  
For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
while mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.  
O morning stars, together proclaim the holy birth!  
and praises sing to God the king, and peace to all the earth!  
How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given!  
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of the heavens.  
No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him still the dear Christ enters in.


(During verse 4, the shepherd process down left side with lanterns, pausing halfway. At the same time, one angel quietly goes and stands at stage left.)

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray,
cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today!  
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell.  
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Immanuel!


(At verse 9 of the scripture reading below, the spotlight moves over to the angel on stage left, and brightens.)


Scripture - Luke 2:8-12

            8In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’”


Hymn – “While Shepherds Watched (1951 Brethren Hymnal 130, not 196 in new hymnal)

While shepherds watched their flocks by night, all seated on the ground,
the angel of the Lord came down, and glory shone around.  
“Fear not,” said he, for mighty dread had seized their troubled mind.  
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring to you and humankind.


(During verse 3, the other angels quietly get in place on top of baptismal cover.)

“To you, in David’s town, this day is born of David’s line
the Savior, who is Christ the Lord, and this shall be the sign:  
“The heavenly babe you there shall find to human view displayed,
all humbly wrapped in swathing bands, and in a manger laid.”


(As scripture below begins, the spotlight moves up to the angels standing on the baptismal. Angel on stage left quietly goes and joins them.)


Scripture - Luke 2:13-14

            13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”


Hymn – “Angels we have heard on high”  197

Angels we have heard on high, singing sweetly through the night,
and the mountains in reply echoing their brave delight.

Gloria in excelsis Deo,
Gloria in excelsis Deo,

Shepherds, why this jubilee?  Why these songs of happy cheer?  
What great brightness did you see?  What glad tidings did you hear?  (Refrain)


(Spotlight moves to Mary and Joseph and widens/softens. Shepherds – with lanterns – move up to stage left on verse 3, where they will remain until the candlelighting. Angels quietly depart on verse 4 and return to their seats in the pews.)

Come to Bethlehem and see him whose birth the angels sing.  
Come, adore on bended knee Christ, the Lord, the newborn king.  (Refrain)
See him in a manger laid whom the angels praise above.  
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid, while we raise our hearts in love.  (Refrain)


Scripture - Luke 2:15

            15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.


(Soft spotlight remains on Mary and Joseph. Star is projected on screen during scripture reading. Three wise men – with lanterns – slowly process up the right aisle as scripture is read, ending up on stage right where they will remain until the candlelighting).


Scripture - Matthew 2:1-11

            1In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2asking, Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.3When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5They told him, In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: 6 And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’’ 7Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 8Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.

            9When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.


Hymn – “We Three Kings of Orient Are”  (1951 Brethren Hymnal 141)


We three kings of Orient are, bearing gifts, we traverse afar

 field and fountain, moor and mountain, following yonder star.

O -  star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright

Westward leading, still proceeding , Guide us to the perfect light.


Glorious now behold Him arise, King and God and Sacrifice

Alleluia, Alleluia, Earth to the heavens replies.

O - star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright,

Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to the perfect light.



(After the hymn, the shepherds and the kings quench their lanterns and go up to the Advent wreath, where each lights a candle – enough hidden behind wreath on table for this purpose - off the Christ candle, then head out the start the congregational candlelighting. The organ begins the next hymn as the angels reach the first pew. Once they’ve finished, shepherds and kings return to their seats in the pews.)


Hymn – “Come, thou long-expected Jesus”  178

Come, thou long-expected Jesus!  born to set thy people free,
from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee.  
Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art,
dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.  
Born thy people to deliver, born a child, and yet a king,
born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring.  
By thine own eternal Spirit, rule in all our hearts alone.  
By thine all-sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne.


(Spotlight focuses upon the empty manger.)


Hymn – “Silent night, holy night” 193  (harp &/or guitar)

Silent night, holy night!  All is calm, all is bright
‘round yon virgin mother and child!  Holy infant, so tender and mild,
sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.
Silent night, holy night!  Son of God, Love’s pure light,
radiant, beams from thy holy face with the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.  Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.
Silent night, holy night!  Wondrous star, lend thy light.  
With the angels let us sing “Alleluia” to our King,
“Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born.”



It is good to have been here!

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;

those who lived in deepest night, are lit up with a brilliant sight.

    “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.

       The spread of his influence and of his peace will never end.


Therefore, go out into the world with great joy,

        and the grace of Bethlehem’s matchless Child,

        the love of the God who never ceases to amaze,

        and the fellowship of the Spirit who never wearies,

        will be with you this holy night and evermore.

Thanks be to God!


by Bruce Prewer, Uniting Church in Australia



order ©2007 Kay Kearns & Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)
Scripture selections from
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education
of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.


return to
Worship Orders

return to

return to

return to
Long Green Valley Church