Sunday, December 24, 2023

Liturgy, Christmas Eve: The X(mas) Files: WHY?, Lessons and Carols (December 24, 2023)

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*Lighting of the Advent Candles

Leader: We gather tonight in joyful anticipation of hearing the old, beloved stories of our faith.
People: We are prepared to listen anew with open ears and hearts!
Leader: We have asked the questions that matter: Who is coming? [Light purple candle]
People: Not a powerful king to rule or a fiery preacher to condemn, but an infant Messiah to dwell with us.
Leader: What has this Messiah come to do? [Light purple candle]
People: To turn the world upside down with the Word of the Lord.
Leader: When will this happen? [Light pink candle]
People: Already, and not yet, and right now.
Leader: Where will this take place? [Light purple candle]
People: In the hearts of the righteous and of sinners alike, and to the ends of the earth.
Leader: Tonight, we ask the most important question of all, “Why does this story matter?”
People: Prepare ye the way, O people, with inquisitive minds and hearts.
Leader: Let us worship the Lord!

Prayer for Illumination

Leader: Let us pray: O Holy Mystery, we gather together to once again share these sacred stories that offer us all light in the dark, hope in the midst of hopelessness, and warmth in the coldest time of year. As we hear these beloved words read and sung, we pray that we might find answers to the questions that weigh on our hearts, but we also pray that the unanswered questions may serve to draw us ever closer to you. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

Traditional Lessons and Carols

Offering in Response to God's Grace

Leader: Just like the shepherds and magi of old, we, too, ask ourselves, “What do I have to offer that is worthy of a king?” What matters most is not the value of our gift, but the fact that it is given in a spirit of joy and thanksgiving. So, as we pass the offering plates and hear an offering of music, let us take a moment to reflect silently on what God may be calling us to share of that which we’ve been given, and then let us stand to sing our praise and thanksgiving.

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