Good evening friends and welcome to “Finding the Light,” a joint Christmas Eve Candlelight Service for Union Grove United Methodist Church in Friendsville, and Lincoln Park-Lynnwood United Methodist Churches in Knoxville. I’m Rev. Val Ohle of Union Grove and bring you greetings on behalf of Rev. Donn King of Lincoln Park-Lynnwood.
Our service this evening is filled with the nativity story and music. We pray you find it a comfort and encourage you to watch it with your household.
Let’s begin with a prayer:
Gracious God, with joy and thanksgiving, we worship tonight as your people. We want to hear again the timeless story of Christ’s birth. In the excitement of this night, quiet our hearts that we may know the peace and fullness of this holy time.
Shine, O Light, in the darkness of our world. Sing, O angels, in the stillness of our hearts, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those God favors.”
This we pray in the name of the Child of Bethlehem.
Now hear this call to worship:
CALL TO WORSHIP
Rejoice, for God is with us — Emmanuel. In the darkness of our world shines God’s holy light. Now there is reason to hope, to love, to laugh, to live. God is truly with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God!
Musical Call to Worship:
- God Is With Us, Casting Crowns
THE NATIVITY STORY:
The Prophecy of the Messiah (Lighting of the Christ Candle – Isaiah 9:2, 6-7; John 1:1-2, 4-5):
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness — on them light has shined.
For a child has been born for us, a son is given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom.
He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. In him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
- Emmanuel (Glory In The Highest), Sovereign Grace Music
The Coming of Jesus Is Announced to Mary and Joseph (Lighting of Gabriel, Mary & Joseph Candles – Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 1:18-25)
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He 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. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be since I am a virgin?” The 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. And 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. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then 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.
Now 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. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But 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. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
- Do Not Fear, Sovereign Grace Music
Preparing for the Birth of Jesus (Luke 2:1-5):
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph 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. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.
- O Little Town of Bethlehem, The Gaither Vocal Band
Jesus Is Born (Lighting of the Manger Candle – Luke 2:6-7):
While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn.
- Away In The Manger, Shane & Shane
- Oh, Holy Night, Casting Crowns
Announcement to the Shepherds (Lighting of the Heavenly Host Candles – Luke 2:9-14)
Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and 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 heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
- It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Johnny Mathis
- The First Noel, Jennifer Nettles
The Shepherds Go to Bethlehem (Lighting of the Shepherd Candles – Luke 2:15-18):
When 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.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.
The Visit of the Magi (Lighting of the King Candles – Matthew 2:1-11):
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “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.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: ‘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.’”
Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then 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.” When 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. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On 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.
LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT CANDLES
We have one last tradition to fulfill tonight and that is the lighting of the Christ Candle. You will see words on the screen. Please say them with me.
Advent hope moves us; Advent love leads us; Advent joy stirs us; Advent peace stills us, that we might affirm our King Jesus.
It is time we set flame to this Advent affirmation by lighting the Christ Candle.
P: We believe that Jesus is the Son of God. He was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judea. He was the long-awaited Messiah whose coming was prophesied. The same Jesus lives today in our hearts. He deserves our highest loyalty and total commitment. In Jesus Christ our hope is fulfilled; our love is consummated; our joy is complete; and our peace is sealed.
L: Rejoice, a Savior is born.
P: A savior is born, indeed. Joy to the world!
- Silent Night, UMC Virtual Choir
Thank you for sharing your Christmas Eve with us. Rev. Donn, myself, and our families wish you a joyous Christmas.
Please stay safe, wear your mask if you must go out, wash your hands, and …
Go, singing a song to the God of our salvation. Sing of mighty deeds and glory. Join the heavenly chorus and sing: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace.” Sing of God’s salvation from day-to-day. Jesus Christ is born today!
- Prelude: What Child Is This/Child of the Poor, The Hound & The Fox
- Postlude: Joy To The World (Joyful, Joyful), Phil Wickham
Even though we can’t meet together in person, the church still has expenses that need to be met. If you are able, please consider making an offering or paying your tithes through the online service provided by Holston Conference. It’s safe. It’s free. It will help us continue ministry at Union Grove.
Just visit http://www.holston.org/churchoffering, and follow the instruction for making your offering. When asked, please choose Smoky Mountain District and Union Grove UMC Blount – Friendsville.
If you are not comfortable using a debit or credit card online, you can mail your offerings/tithes to:
Smoky Mountain District
PO Box 905
Alcoa TN 37701-0905
Please be sure to make your checks payable to Smoky Mountain District and write “Union Grove UMC Friendsville” on the memo line!