Christmas Darkness to Light

This is the order of worship for our worship service yesterday, December 23. The idea for this service grew out of our newly reformed Worship Planning Team. I am pretty excited about this team, so I want to share with you one of our most creative services. It went pretty well over all, but most people thought the service was finished after "Joy to the World." I guess when we change things up and people don't know what to expect, they kind of fill in the blanks on their own. After this service, we continued with the celebration of Christmas by eating lunch together and doing a gift exchange.

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Service starts in total darkness. The only light is through the open door. Congregants take their seats in silence. Greeters all warn people that this service will start in darkness and be very different.

Darkness and pain in our world

Suffering Slide Show: Images of pain and suffering in our world.

“My Joy Is Gone” TWOTP video

silent darkness (1 minute)

“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” – v 1 (Stephanie) enters from back singing, holding a candle; v 2 (Sarah) same from right; v 4 (So-Young) same from left; all three meet in center; 3 ladies sing chorus slowly and walk to front; Stephanie lights the first advent candle. Worship team goes to their places. (Small lamps for worship team and piano.) Congregation sings v 1 and chorus again, with worship team.

Darkness and pain the ancient Jewish world

Jeremiah 23:5-6

Video clips from The Nativity Story (Ancient Jewish people longing for the Messiah)

“Lord Have Mercy” – worship team – Sarah lights second candle advent candle; the smallest set of house lights goes on.

Light and joy through Jesus in the ancient Jewish world

Parable of the Cave (Elisa) after story, Elisa lights third advent candle, next smallest set of house lights goes on. (Read this story in the next post.)

“Here I Am to Worship” – worship team

Sermon part 1: Jesus came but the world was still dark. (Read this sermon in the post below: "Matthew 2:13-18: Christmas Darkness to Light)

Light and joy through Jesus in our world

Sermon part 2: Jesus, the Light of the World, was hidden (and still is hidden) in small communities and individuals who follow His Light. Josh lights 4th advent candle; next smallest set of house lights goes on.

“O Holy Night” verses 1 and 3 – worship team

Jesus Story – Emma (telling about sponsoring a child). After story, Emma lights the Christ Candle; all house lights go on; all stage lights go on; as much light as possible focused on the cross.

Offering - in procession to the cross – people place their offering in the basket at the foot of the cross. As we walk we sing, “Joy to the World” – all four verses. After giving offering, we greet each other with the joy of Christmas.

“Joy to the World” – verses 1 and 4 again – everyone standing

Announcements

Benediction

(Postlude: Hark the Herald Angels)