Christmas Eve: A Manger, and Peace
Scripture: Luke 2:1-7
- Prelude – “Still, Still, Still,” traditional Austrian carol, arr. by Franklin Ritter; Pauline Olsen, organ
- Opening Prayer – Deacon Kathleen Charters
- Hymn 219 – “What Child is This,” by William C. Dix; Stacey Fradkin, vocal; Pauline Olsen, organ; Donna Grubbs, piano
- Advent Candle Lighting – Pastor Brad Beeman
- Lighting of the Christ Candle – Marc, Julie, Avonlea Lawrence
- Hymn 211 – “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” 9th-century monastic hymn; Stacey Fradkin, vocal; Pauline Olsen, organ
- Scripture Reading – Luke 2:1-7, Lou O’Hara
- Special Music – “Mary, Did You Know,” by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene; Patty Shoop, vocal; Donna Grubbs, piano
- Drama – The Manger; Donna, Randy Grubbs; Gay Lyn, Ken Lillagore; Marc, Julie, Avonlea Lawrence
- Homily – Pass the light, Pastor Brad Beeman
- Hymn 217 – “Away in a Manger,” traditional carol; Stacey Franklin, vocal; Pauline Olsen, organ; Donna Grubbs, piano
- Special Music – “O Holy Night,” by Adolphe Ad am, trans. John Sullivan Dwight; Stacey Fradkin, vocal; Donna Grubbs, piano
- Benediction – Pastor Brad Beeman
- Hymn 239 – “Silent Night,” by Franz Gruber; Dorothy and Brad Beeman, vocals; Pauline Olsen, keyboards
So, we’ve taken a journey together that has led us to the light. The road has not been easy, nor has the story been easy to accept. Yet each stop on the journey has taught us a little more about why this child came to earth. God chose Mary to be the mother of God’s child of love. God chose the shepherds to be the first to receive the news of the birth and they followed and found the child. God chose to share the news of this birth utilizing the whole of the heavenly realm.
God chose Bethlehem as the place of this birth; not the Temple and not Jerusalem. But even that wasn’t enough for God.
od chose the wise and the mighty to also receive the message. But God did not choose the rich and mighty in Israel. God chose the Magi, foreign kings, Zoroastrians, to be the ones to follow a star, find and then worship this child of light. These kings offered themselves and what they had to the child. They offered life rather than death, light rather than darkness, love and acceptance rather than violence and judgment. God worked through a wide array of unusual characters to bring this light; this Son into the world.
The journey does not end here. Tonight, we become the next in line to pass the light of the nations on to one another; to remember and celebrate this child and those chosen by God throughout the ages to share the light of life with others. We share the light tonight as a reminder that, even in a little town of Bethlehem, where shepherds watched their flocks by night, and where angels could be heard on high, the light of life grows. Why, because, away in a manger a Child was born, Emmanuel, who is God with us. And, the people walking in darkness, us included, have seen a great light, and his name shall be called…Jesus, and God is still with us today, on this Christmas Eve. It’s now up to us, like so many before us, to spread the light of Christ to a world in need. It really is a silent night. It truly is a holy night, and it is a night that sheds God’s light on the world. Amen.