a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

benediction: Christmas Eve

You have heard the stories of old, the stories of God’s salvation.
With Mary, we have pondered these things in our hearts.
Go out into the world to love and do as Christ would have you do.
With Joseph, we realize that our work has just begun.
As you depart, know that the love of God goes with you wherever you go.
We are strengthened by Christ’s presence with us.  Alleluia!

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

Christmas Affirmation

We believe that God has come to us as a little child,
making our weakness his strength,
securing our salvation by becoming one of us,
blessing us with with a steadfast savior,
filling our hearts with joy to be shared with one another.
We believe that God has birthed righteousness and justice into the world,
giving us a law that will be written upon our hearts,
making the cause of the oppressed the highest priority,
declaring an everlasting reign of peace,
defeating the power of pain and suffering.
We believe that God calls us to participate in this reality of love,
inviting us to proclaim Christ’s resurrection at the Table,
transforming us as disciples to go out into the world,
sending us forth to announce his kingdom of peace and comfort,
challenging us to see everyone as nothing less than beloved children.
This we believe.
This we preach.
This we seek to embody in word and deed.

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

prayer: you break forth

God of all Goodness and Grace,
tonight, you break forth into a world waiting in wonder.
So long we have waited,
so long we have watched,
so long we have wondered what tonight would bring.
To you we ascribe all thanksgiving and praise
for you alone are our hope and our salvation.
You alone are the light that has come to rescue us from ourselves.
You alone are worthy of our worship and you alone are our King!
Come to us on this blessed evening and hear our joyful welcome!
Come to us, Holy Savior, and send your Spirit to tell us a story,
the story of salvation’s birth and hope’s fullest fruition!  Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

CTW: newborn Light

We gather in the darkness of evening to celebrate the newborn Light.
With family and friends we worship and adore the Christ-child.
With Mary we will ponder these things in our hearts.
With Joseph we will give thanks to the Lord for God’s steadfast love.
Lift up your hearts in thanksgiving, for a child, the Child, has been born!
We gather to worship him and welcome his peaceful kingdom.
His name will be blessed among all the earth;
His reign shall have no end!
Come, our wait is finished!  Let us worship the newborn King!

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

Christmas Eve wreath lighting

Lighting the Four Candles

(the sung response between each candle is optional. For the Christ Candle liturgy, scroll to the bottom)    

Together, we light this candle of hope
to represent the longing that resides in our hearts:
for a safer world,
for a world rid of warfare and oppression,
fear and hatred.
Only light will drive out the darkness.
    This hope is found in the God who has come to save us.

Light One Candle For Messiah–Hymn No. 85 in Glory to God (verse 1)

Together, we light this candle of peace
to represent the unity we have amongst each other:
as human beings,
as beloved children of God,
as disciples called to live in harmony with one another.
Only as partners in peace can we stand against violence.
This peace is found in a newborn child, cradled in his mother’s arms.

Hymn No. 85 in Glory to God (verse 2)

Together, we light this candle of joy
to represent the delight that is found in the coming of our savior:
in the birth of hope,
in the fruition of faithfulness,
in the warmth of God’s love for a broken world.
Only joy can give us strength to continue our work.
    This joy is found in a God who finds joy in us!

Hymn No. 85 in Glory to God (verse 3)

    Together, we light this candle of love
to represent the home we have in God’s steadfast shalom:
a home built with peace and kindness,
righteousness and justice,
where all are invited to the Table to partake in the feast.
Only love can bring us together.  Only love can save our souls.
    This love is found tonight in a manger, in Mary’s arm and in our own.

Hymn No. 85 in Glory to God (verse 4)

Christ Candle
    Our wait is over, the Christ-child is here!
    Long we have waited, long we have watched for his coming.
God is not satisfied to remain apart from us, God must be one among us.
    We are God’s people, shepherd of God’s flock,
children of God’s redeeming.
We light this candle to represent Christ’s presence, his everlasting reign.
    We give thanks to God for the fulfillment of hope, peace, joy, and love.
Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

confession: meek and mild v. selfishness and greed

Oh Holy Child of Bethlehem, God who comes to us so small, we confess the overwhelming enormity of darkness that rules our lives.  As you came into the world meek and mild, light within us a powerful glow that casts out dim selfishness and greed. Form us in your way of generosity, grace, joy, hope and love, that we may welcome your light and bear it to the world.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Submitted by Rev. Elaine Murray Dreeben, Canyon Lake Presbyterian Church, Canyon Lake TX

Christmas Eve Communion Invitation

Friends, tonight we remember and celebrate the birth of Christ, God who came to us in human flesh, as a helpless baby. Those first invited to witness this event were a group of poor shepherds. They were not highly educated. They had no gifts to bring. They did not have fancy clothes. But an angel proclaimed to them, “A Savior has been born to YOU.” Tonight we come, as unworthy as those shepherds, to witness and receive God’s amazing grace and love. 

This table is Christ’s table. It is not my table, or the Presbyterian table, or the table of this congregation. It is the table of Jesus. And all who wish to know and love him are welcome here. Whether your faith is strong or wavering, whether you come to church often or have never been before, you are welcome here. Tonight, a Savior is born for YOU, and that same Savior welcomes you to this sacred meal.


Submitted by Rev. Sarah E. Ross, First Presbyterian Church of Pleasant Hill, MO.