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Joy to the World! The Lord Is Come - Christmas Celebration based on Luke 2

A weekday chapel service plan to celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas based on Luke 2.

Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas.  

The prophet Isaiah says,
“The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”
Jesus Christ is our life and light.
In his name and in his power, let us worship God! (TWS E.1.2.1)

We call each other to worship with verses 1 and 2 of Psalter Hymnal 340 “O Come, All Ye Faithful.”

     PsH 340 O Come, All Ye Faithful

God of God, Light of Light, we adore you. We thank and praise you for coming to earth for us, for becoming human, and for suffering and dying for us. We know that we can come to you with anything because you know the temptations that come with being human. Thank you for becoming one of us so that you could save us. As we listen to the story of your birth and sing about it, help us see your presence among us. In your name we pray, Amen.

Luke tells us the setting of the birth of our savior.

     Luke 2:1-5

We see the light of the world come into a dark world and pray that the light of Christ will come into the darkness of our sin with the first and last verse of “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”

     The United Methodist Hymnal 230 O Little Town of Bethlehem

[This hymn can be found in multiple hymnals and song books, such as the United Methodist Hymnal (United Methodist Publishing House, 1989).]

Luke tells of the birth of our savior.

     Luke 2:6

We reflect on Christ as a newborn baby as we sing verses 1, 2, and 4 of Psalter Hymnal 344 “Silent Night! Holy Night!”

     PsH 344 Silent Night! Holy Night!

Luke tells of the first moments of Jesus' life.

     Luke 2:7

We proclaim the joy that Christ's birth brought to the world with Psalter Hymnal 337 “Joy to the World!”

     PsH 337 Joy to the World!

Luke tells of the angel's message to the shepherds.

     Luke 2:8-14

We join the angels and sing to the newborn king with Psalter Hymnal 345 “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”

     PsH 345 Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Luke tells of the shepherds' worship.

     Luke 2:15-20

Like the shepherds, the news of the birth of Jesus makes us rejoice and want to tell everyone about what happened on Christmas day. Using the words of Psalter Hymnal 356 “Go, Tell It on the Mountain,” we call each other to proclaim to the world that Jesus Christ is born.

     PsH 356 Go, Tell It on the Mountains

We have just heard how Jesus Christ who is fully God became a tiny, helpless baby so that he could live and die for us. Let us give him thanks for this great gift,

Loving Lord God,
Thank you for showing your love for us by being born as a baby.  
Thank you for the great story of our God becoming one of us.
Thank you for the announcement of the angels
and the excitement of the shepherds.  
During this Christmas season, may we, like you, be humble and loving,
may we, like the angels, declare your glory,
and may we, like the shepherds, tell everyone the story of your birth.  
In your name through the power of the Holy Spirit we pray, Amen.

Go in peace with the joy of knowing that Christ came to earth for us.   

Leadership Notes

1. The italic words are meant to be spoken transitions, not included in a written order of worship. Additional notes in brackets provide additional options or suggestions but are not intended to be read in worship.

2. The service is designed in such a way that a written order is not required but may be used.

3. If you have a printed order of worship, project the songs on a screen, or include the songs on a handout, feel free to shorten or adapt the transitions (ie. Remove the book and number of the song title from the spoken transition).

4. The main focus of this service is telling the story of the birth of Christ. It uses the familiar passage of Luke 2. In a school setting, this may be a good opportunity to involve younger children who might be memorizing this text in class. This may require coaching, however, since the whole passage is not read continuously.  

5. TWS, The Worship Sourcebook, ed. Emily R. Brink and John D. Witvliet (Grand Rapids: Faith Alive Christian Resources, Baker Books, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, 2004)