3Comfort and Joy Service for Christmas Eve “From heav’n above to earth I come To bear good news to ev’ry home; Glad tidings of great joy I bring, Whereof I now will say and sing: “To you this night is born a child Of Mary, chosen virgin mild; This little child of lowly birth
4“These are the signs that you shall mark: The swaddling clothes and manger dark. There you will find the infant laid By whom the heav’ns and earth were made.” How glad we’ll be to find it so! Then with the shepherds let us go To see what God for us has done In sending us his own dear Son.
5Litany This night of all nights is a celebration of the comfort and joy delivered to us at the manger. O tidings of comfort and joy! Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. O tidings of comfort and joy! Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me. O tidings of comfort and joy! Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. O tidings of comfort and joy!
6Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you. O tidings of comfort and joy! Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. O tidings of comfort and joy, delivered to us in the manger!
7Lighting of the Advent Candles and the Christ Candle
9Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o’er the plains, And the mountains in reply, echoing their joyous strains. Gloria in excelsis Deo. Gloria in excelsis Deo. Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong? What the gladsome tidings be which inspire your heav’nly song? Gloria in excelsis Deo. Gloria in excelsis Deo.
10Come to Bethlehem and see him whose birth the angels sing; Come, adore on bended knee Christ the Lord, the newborn King. Gloria in excelsis Deo. Gloria in excelsis Deo.
13The Old Testament Reading, Isaiah 9:2-7, is spoken by the pastor or other worship leader: P 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. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his
14burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 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.
15The Epistle Reading, Galatians 4:4-7, is spoken by the pastor or other worship leader: P But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
16The Gospel Reading, Luke 2:1-20, is spoken by the pastor or other worship leader: P And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into
17Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone
18round about them: and they were sore afraid round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, 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, good will toward men.
19When 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.
20“Speak words of comfort,” says our God, “tell of the peace I bring “Speak words of comfort,” says our God, “tell of the peace I bring. Your warfare ends as you receive forgiveness from your King!” For Christ our Lord to us has come and of that news we sing: O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy, O tidings of comfort and joy.
21The angel to the shepherds said, “There’s nothing you need fear The angel to the shepherds said, “There’s nothing you need fear. I have good news to bring to you and everyone who hears: In Christ, the Child of Bethlehem, your God and Lord comes near!” O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy, O tidings of comfort and joy.
22All praise to God the Father sing, with praise to God the Son, And praise to God the Spirit bring, most blessed Three in One! As ‘twas, is now, and e’er shall be while endless ages run! O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy, O tidings of comfort and joy.
25The Prayers are offered: Each petition ends with the following response: P O Child of light and love, C bring us comfort and fill us with joy.
26P Christ, the Child of Bethlehem, until you entered the world, it was filled with darkness, discord and despair. But with your birth, true light was brought to the earth in the form of perfect love, true comfort was brought in the form of the forgiveness of sins, and true joy rang out around the world in the song of angels. O Child of light and love, C bring us comfort and fill us with joy.
27P Christ, the Child of Bethlehem, on the night of your birth the shepherds learned of good news that would bring joy to all people. Peace overcame their fear, and they went with haste to see you in your manger. Make your peace prevail in our world, that governments and leaders would lay down their weapons, do away with oppression and serve those who are most in need. O Child of light and love, C bring us comfort and fill us with joy.
28P Christ, the Child of Bethlehem, it is through your Church that comfort and joy are given to sinners like us. Draw us together as one that your body on earth would be the source of comfort and joy for those who need it or do not yet know it. O Child of light and love, C bring us comfort and fill us with joy.
29P Christ, the Child of Bethlehem, please lay your healing hand upon those who are experiencing discomfort and sadness due to physical, mental or emotional illness. According to your will, give them the comfort and joy of health and wholeness. O Child of light and love, C bring us comfort and fill us with joy. P Christ, the Child of Bethlehem, we look forward to the day when we will experience everlasting and eternal comfort and joy in the new kingdom you will build especially for us. Until that day, keep us in the one true faith, enable us to serve one another and strengthen our love for you. O Child of light and love, C bring us comfort and fill us with joy. P Amen.
32Candlelighting Ceremony is spoken responsively by the pastor and a second reader, interspersed with hymns to the tunes of Greensleeves , St. Louis and Stille Nacht : P Tidings of comfort and joy are heard ‘round the world tonight as we echo the song of the angels and are equipped, like the shepherds, to share the good news of a Savior, born to us in Bethlehem’s manger. Though the world is darkened by sin, the light of the
33Christ Child’s love overcomes sin and suffering Christ Child’s love overcomes sin and suffering. The flames that flicker tonight are a reminder of the fact that, because of Christ, darkness does not overcome the light. Behold your God! Here he is, lying in a manger! R O God, bless us with the comfort and joy of Jesus’ perfect presence in our lives.
34What child is this, who, laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping 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!
35P Though the world is darkened by distress, the light of the Christ Child’s love overcomes anguish and agony. The flames that flicker tonight are a reminder of the fact that, because of Christ, darkness does not overcome the light. Behold your God! Here he is, lying in a manger! R O God, bless us with the comfort and joy of Jesus’ perfect presence in our lives.
36O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie 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.
37P Though the world is darkened by sorrow, the light of the Christ Child’s love overcomes selfishness and sadness. The flames that flicker tonight are a reminder of the fact that, because of Christ, darkness does not overcome the light. Behold your God! Here he is, lying in a manger! R O God, bless us with the comfort and joy of Jesus’ perfect presence in our lives.
38Silent night, holy night 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! Shepherds quake at the sight; Glories stream from heaven afar, heav’nly hosts sing, Alleluia! Christ, the Savior, is born! Christ, the Savior, is born!
39Silent night, holy night 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. (The congregation’s candles are extinguished.)