Bill Hoppe offers themes, Scriptures and readings for Dec. 24:
Darkness is overcome by light; despair gives way to hope; prisoners are freed; and death is vanquished by the promise of salvation. These are the life- and history-changing forces set in motion by the birth of a child—a child born to a poor Jewish couple, in an obscure town, in a backwater province of the Roman empire. On this night, we eagerly await the arrival of light, hope, freedom, and salvation, as we hear again the beloved story told and retold for generations: Christ is born! Alleluia!
INVITATION AND GATHERING
Call to Worship (Isaiah 9, Luke 2)
Good news! Unspeakable joy!
A great light has burst forth,
overcoming the darkness!
A child is born for us—a son has been given!
Bringing a kingdom of endless peace,
we shall call him Wonderful Counselor,
Come, let us see what God has brought us!
Let us see what the Lord has done!
Glory to God in the highest!
And on earth, peace and goodwill to all!
Opening Prayer (Psalm 96, Isaiah 9, Titus 2)
you have appeared in the flesh,
bringing redemption to all,
your glory is made known in this newborn child,
this living, blessed hope.
Tonight we sing a new song—
a song of justice, righteousness, and endless peace.
Gift of God, beautiful Christ-child,
we welcome you!
Let love be born anew in our hearts
on this joyous night. Amen.
PROCLAMATION AND RESPONSE
Prayer of Confession (Isaiah 9, Titus 2, Luke 2)
Lord, we have lived far too long
in dark places of our own making.
We have walled ourselves in,
shut the world out,
and held ourselves captive
to our fear and failings.
Free us from this place, Lord.
Return us to a life in your presence,
where we may face the trials of this world
with you by our side.
Restore your light to our eyes,
that we may behold anew
your love in our lives.
Hear us and help us, we pray.
We wait in eager anticipation,
for the glory of your salvation this night. Amen.