Little Falls United Methodist Church

December 24, 2020 +++  Christmas Eve Worship  +++  7 p.m.

 

Welcome to Little Falls UMC Online Christmas Eve Service!

 

Please prepare 5 Candles for Online Christmas Eve Service, if able.

Light the candle after each lesson during worship service.

 

 Gathering and Praise

 

Prelude Music                          O Little Town of Bethlehem             

 

Welcome 

                                                                                  

⇞Opening Scripture           Isaiah 60:1-2

 

Arise, shine; for your light has come,

    and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

For darkness shall cover the earth,

    and thick darkness the peoples;

but the Lord will arise upon you,

    and his glory will appear over you.

 

⇞Call To Worship

Leader: Unexpectedly, the time came! The child was born!
All: The Savior of the world is here!
Leader: Unexpectedly, the angels told the shepherds of the newborn Savior;
All: The Savior of the world is here!
Leader: Unexpectedly, the shepherds went and found the child, lying in a manger.
All: The Savior of the world is here!

 

Leader: We wait for Christ to come again. We wait for Christ to enter our world and lives in a new way.
All: Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

 

 

⇞Opening Songs                           Emmanuel   (Hallowed Manger Ground)

 

Verse 1

What hope we hold this starlit night

A King is born in Bethlehem

Our journey long we seek the light

That leads to the hallowed manger ground

 

Verse 2

What fear we felt in the silent age

Four-hundred years can He be found

But broken by a baby's cry

Rejoice in the hallowed manger ground

 

Chorus

Emmanuel Emmanuel

God incarnate here to dwell

Emmanuel Emmanuel

Praise His name Emmanuel

(Praise His name Emmanuel)

 

Verse 3

The Son of God here born to bleed

A crown of thorns would pierce His brow

And we beheld this offering

Exalted now the King of kings

Praise God for the hallowed manger ground

 

O Come, All Ye Faithful                           UMH 234 v 1-3

 

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,

O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem.

Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;

 

Refrain

 

O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

 

True God of true God, Light from Light Eternal,

Lo, he shuns not the Virgin's womb;

Son of the Father, begotten, not created;

 

Refrain

  

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation;

Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!

Glory to God, all glory in the highest;

 

Refrain

 

 

Children’s Message                      The Best Gift                         Rev. Jin Kook Kim

 

When I was a kid, I liked to watch a movie titled ‘Home Alone.’ In the movie, Kevin’s family and his relatives planned to go on a trip during the Christmas Season. And accidentally, Kevin, an eight-year-old boy, left at home alone. In fact, he wished to be alone, and the family disappeared before it happened because he thought that he was regarded as a troublemaker in the family. However, when it happened, he felt lonely. And he found how precious his family is to him. At the end of the movie, the family came back, and they were so happy about being with one another.

 

You would have wished for special gifts from Santa or your family. And you would be very excited about the presents now. However, I hope you and I remember that the best gift is our family and friends. When we get together, we are happy. Being with our family and friends is the best joy for us.

 

God also loves us so much, so God is with us always. God is God, so we cannot see God with our eyes. So, God sent Jesus as the sign of God’s presence to us, and Jesus is the best gift for all of us. And Jesus is in us and with us. Being with God is the best gift for all of us. I hope we remember God’s love through God’s presence in us through Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

 

Lessons and Carols

 

Lesson                                  Isaiah 9:2-7

 

2 The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
    on them light has shined.
3 You have multiplied the nation,
    you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
    as with joy at the harvest,
    as people exult when dividing plunder.
4 For the yoke of their burden,
    and the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor,
    you have broken as on the day of Midian.
5 For all the boots of the tramping warriors
    and all the garments rolled in blood
    shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
6 For a child has been born for us,
    a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
    and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 His authority shall grow continually,
    and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
    He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time onward and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

 

 

<Lighting the Candle of Peace>

 

Carol                          Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus                UMH 196

 

Come, thou long expected Jesus,

born to set thy people free;

from our fears and sins release us,

let us find our rest in thee.

Israel's strength and consolation,

hope of all the earth thou art;

dear desire of every nation,

joy of every longing heart.

 

Born thy people to deliver,

born a child and yet a King,

born to reign in us forever,

now thy gracious kingdom bring.

By Thine own eternal Spirit

rule in all our hearts alone;

by thine all sufficient merit,

raise us to Thy glorious throne.

 

 

Lesson                                  Luke 2:1-7

 

2 In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 All went to their own towns to be registered. 4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

 

 

 

<Lighting the Candle of Hope>

 

Carol                         O Little Town of Bethlehem, verses. 1, 2, & 3           UMH 230            

 

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie;

above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.

Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light;

the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

 

For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,

while mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.

O morning stars together proclaim the holy birth,

and praises sing to God the King, and peace to all on earth!

 

How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given;

so God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heaven.

No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin,

where meek souls will receive Him, still the dear Christ enters in.          

 

 

Lesson          Luke 2:8-14                                                           

 

8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”[

 

 

<Lighting the Candle of Joy>

 

Carol                           Angels We Have Heard on High, verses 1-2             UMH 238

 

Angels we have heard on high

sweetly singing o'er the plains,

and the mountains in reply

echoing their joyous strains.

 

Refrain

 

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

  

Shepherds, why this jubilee?

Why your joyous strains prolong?

What the gladsome tidings be

which inspire your heavenly song?

 

Refrain

 

 

Matthew 2:1-11

 

2 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 3 When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” 9 When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11 On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

 

 

<Lighting the Candle of Love>

 

Carol                                     The First Noel, verses 2, 3, & 5                          UMH 245

 

They looked up and saw a star

shining in the east, beyond them far;

and to the earth it gave great light,

and so it continued both day and night.

 

Refrain

 

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,

born is the King of Israel.

 

And by the light of that same star

three Wise Men came from country far;

to seek for a king was their intent,

and to follow the star wherever it went.

 

Refrain

 

Then entered in those Wise Men three,

full reverently upon the knee,

and offered there, in His presence,

their gold and myrrh and frankincense.

 

Refrain

 

 

⇞Lighting the Christ Candle         John 1:1-5, 9-13                Rev. Jin Kook Kim

                                                

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

 

 

9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

 

⇞Prayer of the Community

 

Pastor: Holy God, you have appeared in the flesh, bringing redemption to all.  Your glory is made known in this newborn child, this living blessed hope.

  

All: Tonight we sing a new song – a song of justice, righteousness, and endless peace.

 

Pastor: Gift of God, beautiful Christ-child, we welcome you! Let love be born anew in our hearts on this joyous night.  O Light of the World, we pause now before you in silence and adoration:

 

 

⇞Silent Prayer

 

 

⇞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 trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

  

 Called by the Word

 

Message                               Emmanuel – God Is with Us                   Rev. Jin Kook Kim

 

A few weeks ago, I read an essay on the internet. The title of the essay was this: "Please do not meet the person if you love the one." The author is a doctor who provides health care to Covid-19 patients in Atlanta, GA. He has seen many sad cases related to Covid-19 since the pandemic happened, and he wants people not to make a tragic story in their lives. So, he posted his essay on the internet before the Christmas season.

 

We live together as a family or friends. Being with our family and friends is the beauty of life and a great blessing for us. Being with our loving ones gives us strength, joy, comfort, and peace. Some people say, "I prefer to be alone," but it does not mean that they want to be alone all the time. The pandemic has changed our lives and our society because it stops us from being with others and meeting with others. Many people chose not to have a family gathering on Thanksgiving this year, and now they are giving up having family gathering tonight and tomorrow, Christmas day also. This situation makes us feel lonely and depressed. We usually had a joyful time with our family and friends during the Christmas season, but we have a different Christmas Season this year. How have you been? How are you tonight? How will you be tomorrow? Do you feel lonely? Or are you ok?

 

A week ago, I read a story in the Upper Room. And I want to share it with you.

 

Steven usually got together with his family during the Christmas season. However, that year was different. A month before Christmas, several family issues surfaced, and it seemed that he would be spending much of the Christmas season alone. So, he had planned a quiet evening with his friend, but his friends had to cancel their plan due to a death in the family. Early on December 23, he woke up and read the Christmas stories in the bible as usual. And he began to ask God why he had to be alone in the joyful season and why his family was so busy so he couldn't see them and why he couldn't have a good time with his friend. During his fervent conversation with God, the word Emmanuel surfaced with its meaning, "God is with Us." Instantly he understood the deeper meaning of Christmas. We love to be with friends and family around for Christmas. But the greater celebration is that God in Christ came to be with each of us so that we are never alone.

 

I hope you enjoy your time with your family with a grateful heart if you are with your family because it is God's blessing for you and God is with you along with your family. If you are not with your family or friends this Christmas Season, I pray that you don't feel lonely, but you feel God's presence in your hearts because God is with you. You are not alone. Jesus Christ is the sign of God's presence in us. And Jesus is in us and with us all the time.

 

 

We lighted the Christ candle because the light can be a symbol or a sign of Jesus. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)  That is why we share the light of the Christ candle when we have Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. Through sharing the light, we remind ourselves that Jesus came to us, and God is with us. Thus, let us remember that God is with us whenever we see the light. Whenever we see the sunshine, candle lights, lamp lights, or car lights, let us remind ourselves of Emmanuel, God is with us. We are not alone. We are never alone.

 

Let us remember that God is with us when we see Christmas Cards, notes, or gifts at home. You would have received Christmas cards, notes, or gifts from your family or friends. They love you, so they gave you the cards with their loving hearts. God is love and God is where love is. You would place Christmas cards and notes from your family and friends on a table, a wall, or a refrigerator. Let us remember that God is with us whenever we see them.

 

Christmas is not only for us. It is for everyone in the world. As a church family, we celebrate Christmas and invite other people because it is a joyful and meaningful day for us, and we want to let people have God's love in their hearts and lives. God wants all people to know that God is with them. And God called us to help people to know that God is with them. We can help others know that God is with them, and they are not alone by sending notes, cards, or making phone calls. Tonight or tomorrow or during the Christmas season, would you send notes or cards to the persons that you think of, or call them, so let them know that they are not alone, but you are with them, and God is with them.

  

Remember the word, Emmanuel, for Jesus came to us to let us know that God is with us always. I pray you are fully in God's presence tonight, tomorrow, and forever. Merry Christmas!

 

 

Called to Share and Witness

 

Response to Our Generous God     

   

⇞Doxology                  Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow          UMH 95

 

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

praise him, all creatures here below;

praise him above, ye heavenly host;

praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Amen.

 

⇞Dedication of Offerings

 

All: Dear God, we cannot thank you enough for the gift of your Son. Through your grace, you have given us everything, including our very lives. On this night, we celebrate the miracle of Christmas! But when the candles are blown out, when the ringing of the bells has ceased when the angels and shepherds have gone home, may we continue to shine your light into the world through the giving of these offerings. And so we offer you yet another gift: our partnership to build your reign here on earth. Amen.

 

 

⇞Service of Candlelight

 

Silent Night                                      UMH 239

 

  1. 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.

 

  2. 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!

 

  3. 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.

 

  4. Silent night, holy night, wondrous star, lend thy light,

With the angels let us sing,

Alleluia to our King;

Christ the Savior is born!  Christ the Savior is born!

 

 

⇞Prayer         Rev. Jin Kook Kim

  

Called to the World

 

⇞Closing Hymn                               Joy to the World                          UMH 246

 

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

Let earth receive her King;

Let every heart prepare Him room,

And heaven and nature sing,

And heaven and nature sing,

And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

  

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!

Let men their songs employ;

While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains

Repeat the sounding joy,

Repeat the sounding joy,

Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

  

No more let sins and sorrows grow,

Nor thorns infest the ground;

He comes to make His blessings flow

Far as the curse is found,

Far as the curse is found,

Far as, far as, the curse is found.

 

He rules the world with truth and grace,

And makes the nations prove

The glories of His righteousness,

And wonders of His love,

And wonders of His love,

And wonders, wonders, of His love.

  

⇞Benediction                                                                                   Rev. Jin Kook Kim

 

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.” “The grace of the Lord, Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you!”

 

 

⇞Postlude                                     Joy to the World

 

 

⇞All who are able, please stand.