Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Eve Call to Worship

Yesterday I wrote the services for Christmas Eve and New Year's Day. One advantage or disadvantage of our United Church of Canada Presbyterian/Methodist/Congregationalist/Evangelical United Brethren tradition is that we don't have a common prayer book or missal, and our worship is customized for each congregation or pastoral charge.

This doesn't mean that everything is written from scratch; I often adapt worship materials from other denominations shared through LiturgyLink or TextWeek, or supplied by our own worship leaders to Gathering, the United Church worship resource. I hadn't been able to find a suitable Call to Worship to begin the Christmas Eve service, so I wrote one from the prophecies of the Christ, found in Isaiah, and the Christmas story from Luke's Gospel, taken from the Common English Bible.

The convention in our service bulletins is that the words spoken by the worship leader are printed in the regular font; the congregation says the words in bold.

An angel comes to shepherds in the country, and tells them:
Your Saviour is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord.
And a whole assembly of angels proclaims:
Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace.
For the ancient prophecies have come true,
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. On those living in a pitch-dark land, light has dawned.
A child is born to us, a son is given to us.
He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
God has given us a sign:
A young woman will give birth to a son, and he will be called Emmanuel, God with us.
Like the shepherds,
Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened.
Let us worship God who comes among us tonight as a tiny baby.

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