Christmas Eve

December 24, 2011 — Leave a comment

OPENING

If you have been using an Advent wreath, light all of the candles now.  If you desire, light a fifth/or single candle for this devotion.  If the words of the Hymns are familiar, you are invited to sing them.

Jesus Christ, You are the Light of the world that no darkness can overcome: for darkness is as light with You:  You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.  Forgive us!
Psalm 139:11; 90:8

Jesus Christ, You are the Light of the world that no darkness can overcome; for the shadow of death flees from You:  Guide our feet into the way of peace!
Luke 1:79

Jesus Christ, You are the Light of the world that no darkness can overcome; for You give light to those sitting in darkness:  Look the Light has dawned on us!
Matthew 4:16

Jesus Christ, You are the Light of the world that no darkness can overcome; for You make all things visible:  Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you!
Ephesians 5:13-14

The light that shines in the darkness has now come and shown also in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.
2 Corinthians 4:6

Joyous light of glory: of the immortal Father; heavenly, holy, blessed Jesus Christ, we have come to the Eve of Your birth.  Lord, as we turn our thoughts towards Bethlehem, give us the peace, stillness and joy of that first night when Mary gave birth, and laid You in a manger.  Let us rejoice with angelic choirs  and sing out the heavenly announcement of the Advent of our King.  O Son of God, O Giver of life: the universe proclaims Your glory.  Let Your light shine on us and dispel all fear of the power of sin, death and the devil; for in You we are set free from all of theses.  Come creatures on earth below, let us glorify the Lord our God!  To God the Father, the + Son, and the Holy Spirit glory be; now and forever.  Amen.

MEDITATION

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.  This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.  And all went to be registered, each to his own town.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.  And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.  (Luke 2:1-7)

Away in a Manger
Little Children’s Book, Philadelphia, 1885, sts. 1-2; Vineyard Songs, Louisville, 1892, st 3, alt.
Stanzas 1-3

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where He lay,
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes.
I love Thee, Lord Jesus!  Look down from the sky,
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,
And take us to heaven to live with Thee there.

Tonight God breaks His silence, not with wrath, but with the gentle crying of the newborn Jesus laying in a manger.  Take now a moment of reflective silence and bring your cares and troubles before your Heavenly Father who looks down on you now, even as He looked down on His Son that first holy night, with love in His heart.

MEDITATION

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths 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,
and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!”  (Luke 2:8-14)

What Child is This
Wlliam C. Dix, 1837-98
Stanzas 1-3

What child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ our king,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The babe, the son of Mary!

Why lies He in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear; for sinner here
The silent Word is pleading,
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for You;
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The babe, the son of Mary!

So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh;
Come, peasant, king, to own Him.
The King of kings salvation brings;
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise the song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby;
Joy, joy, for Christ is born,
The babe, the son of Mary!

Tonight God breaks His silence with the voice of angels, announcing His greatest promise, the birth of Emmanuel, has come to pass!  Take now a moment of reflective silence and bring Your adorations of joy and exaltation before Jesus born this night.  Glory to God in the highest, and peace to His people on earth.  Amen.

Meditation

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”  And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.  And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.  And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.  But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.  And the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.  Luke 2:15-20

Silent Night
Franz Joseph Mohr, 1792-1848; TR. John F. Young, 1820-85
Stanzas 1-3

Silent Night, Holy Night!
All is calm, All is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child.
Holy infant, So tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent Night, Holy Night!
Shepherds quake at the sight;
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing, Alleluia!
Christ, the Savior, is born!
Christ, the Savior, is born!

Silent Night, Holy Night!
Son of God, Love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.

Tonight God breaks His silence, the world is changed forevermore.  All things reconciled and restored through the life, work and death of this little child.  Take now a moment of reflective silence and pray.

CLOSING

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Lord, now You let Your servant go in peace;
Your word has been fulfilled.
My own eyes have seen the salvation
which You have prepared in the sight of every people:
a light to reveal You to the nations
and the glory of Your people Israel.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.  Amen.

Extinguish the candles in silence, and for a time, remain in silence.  May the Lord bless you this Christmastide.

All scripture passages are ESV

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