Dear Friends in Christ,

A very merry Christmas Eve to you and your family! I pray that each one of you will experience the love and mystery and hope of the Christ child born in our midst once more. "O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord!"

Despite the chilly weather forecasted, we are still going to hold outdoor services today at 4pm and 9pm in the fellowship garden here at church. We have shortened the service to last only 10 minutes! Bundle up and join us if you are able.

The virtual worship service is linked below. We hope it blesses you and brings you Christmas joy. Please forward it to your family and friends and watch it again as needed! The virtual carol sing led by our chancel choir is particularly moving. Don't forget a candle to light at the end!

Two other worship notes: (1) In case you missed the Longest Night Service on Monday, the reflective service has now been posted here on YouTube for all who would like to view it. (2) Worship on Sunday, December 27, will be held live at 10:00am over Zoom. We will send out the Zoom link and order of worship on Saturday night around 5pm. A recording of the service will be shared next week for those who are unable to attend at 10am that day. It will be a festive service of carols and reflection on the gifts we've given and received in the past year. Please do join us!

Merry Christmas, friends - I'm so glad to be on the journey of faith with you. You have my love and prayers and deep gratitude on this holy night. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness will never, never, never overcome it.

With Christmas joy,
Pastor Jeff
Christmas Eve Virtual Worship, December 24, 2020
Prelude
Gabriel’s Oboe (from 2019 service)

Welcome

Lighting of the Christ Candle
We give thanks for the light of hope—unrelenting and inexplicable.
Our hope in Christ shines on.
We give thanks for the light of peace—strong and unafraid.
The peace of Christ lights our way.
We give thanks for the light of joy—persistent and unpredictable.
The joy of Christ brightens our lives.
We give thanks for the light of love—hot and holy.
The love of Christ comforts and challenges.
Now let us light the Christ candle as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Thank you, God, for your light in this world through Jesus Christ.
The light shines in the darkness.
And the darkness has not overcome it.

Hymn No. 133 (recorded from 2019)
O Come, All Ye Faithful

Prayer of Confession
God of joy, we gather to celebrate the arrival of Love Incarnate here in our very midst. Your glorious arrival is enough to cause the forests to sing for joy, yet we still find reasons to complain and sigh. Your light of salvation is bright enough to illuminate every corner of our lives, yet we still find ourselves shrouded in worry and doubt. Your gift of Love is big enough for the whole world, yet we still find ourselves resentful that your love extends to those whom we deem unworthy. God, you invite us into the light of the stable where the overlooked and forgotten have gathered to celebrate the miracle of your love. Give us the strength and courage to join you at the manger. In Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness
Do not be afraid! Hear the good news of great joy for all people: a Savior has been born this night for you and all the world! 
Thanks be to God! Amen. 

Sung Response
Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Gloria in excelsis Deo!

Time With Young Disciples

Hymn No. 114
Away in a Manger

Prayer of Illumination

Scripture Reading   Luke 2:1-20                                                           

Homily                      Rev. Jeff Lehn

Bell Anthem
Joy to the World

Prayers for Christmas Eve and the Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever. Amen. 

Call to Offering

Candle Lighting and Sharing the Light of Christ

Carol Medley

Benediction

Bell Postlude
Carol Medley            arr. Christine Anderson


Worship Leaders:
Rev. Jeff Lehn, preaching
Rev. Laura Sherwood, pastoral liturgist
Ian Daugherty, oboe
Chancel Choir, carol medley
Rose and Will McGrath, hymn singers
Chancel Bells, bell anthem
Greg Korak, bell postlude
Lindley Traynor, time with young disciples
Children of FPCW, scripture reading
Peggy Massello, organ, piano and music leadership
Bulletin Image: Kate Cosgrove, "Nativity Three"