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Little Falls United Methodist Church

 

December 24, 2023 +++ Christmas Eve Worship +++ 7 p.m. 

 

Welcome to Little Falls UMC Online Christmas Eve Service! 

 

 Gathering and Praise 

 

Prelude Music                                             

 

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: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.
All: Celebrate the coming of the Light.
Leader: O sing to the Lord a new song, God’s salvation is at hand.
All: Celebrate the coming of Salvation.
Leader: For a child has been born for us, a son given to us.
All: Celebrate the coming of the Prince of Peace.
Leader: I bring you good news of great joy for all the people.
All: Celebrate the coming of Christ!

 

⇞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       Baby Jesus Is Born                              Luke 2:1-7

 

Lessons and Carols

 

Lesson                                      Isaiah 9:2-7                             Marilyn Downing

 

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                                                           Pete Dewes

 

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                              Melissa Downing

 

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

 

Lesson                                      Matthew 2:1-11                                    Sara Ketterer

 

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                      Accept, Unwrap, Enjoy, and Share              Rev. Jin Kook Kim

 

Good evening, everyone! Finally, we have this night, the night before Christmas. We have been waiting for Christmas during the Advent Season and we get together here to celebrate Christmas. What a joyful and glorious night it is!

 

Christmas day is Jesus’ birthday. And Christmas day is when God gives us Jesus as God’s gift for us. As we have considered during the Advent season, Jesus is the best Christmas gift for us. Nothing can compare to this God’s best gift, Jesus. Jesus’ coming into our lives shows God’s love for us. By giving us Jesus, God’s only son, the most precious, God says to each of us, “I love you this much!” By giving us Jesus, God says to each of us, “I am with you all the time.” By giving us Jesus, God gives us Salvation. God saves us from our sins not only spiritually but also physically. By giving us Jesus, God gives us reconciliation with God. We broke our relationship with God by committing sins before God. However, God offers us forgiveness through Jesus and trusts us again. God has recovered our relationship with God, paying Jesus as the cost of reconciliation. These are not all. There are more meanings and blessings of God in Jesus who is God’s Christmas gift for us. As we have considered, God’s Christmas gift is amazing and great and God offers us Jesus, the best gift for us. On Christmas day, holding God’s gift in God’s hands, God says, “This is a gift that I prepared for you.” 

 

Church family, what would you like to say to God? What would you like to do? Accept the gift. Accept Jesus. Accept God’s love and presence, salvation, and reconciliation. God prepares the greatest gift for us and offers it to us. To have God’s blessings through Jesus, what we need to do is to accept the gift, Jesus Christ. Because God gives us the gift freely, we just say ‘Yes’ and ‘Thank You.’ As we read in the Gospel of John, there are people who reject Jesus, God’s gift. By doing that they are rejecting God’s love, presence, salvation, and reconciliation. Church family, let us not be like them. Let us accept God’s gift which is what we need the most in our lives.

 

What is next? What do you do after you receive a gift? Unwrap it. If we don’t unwrap and put it on the side, we will not know what gift you have received. Unwrap God’s gift and look into it. God’s gift is Jesus. When we look into God’s gift, Jesus, we will see God’s love, presence, salvation, and reconciliation. That’s not all, there is more in Jesus. There is more in God’s gift. Look into it, considering the meaning of Jesus’ birth and Jesus’ coming into our lives. Then, we will see God gives us the best gift in our lives.

 

What is next? What do you do after you unwrap a gift? Enjoy it. Enjoy it by using it. If we don’t use it, we lose the big joy of using it. Enjoy God’s gift, Jesus, God’s love and presence, salvation and reconciliation. The gift is ours. We are free to enjoy it. Enjoy God’s love and presence. Enjoy God’s salvation and reconciliation. Enjoy God’s Christmas gift for us. God wants us to enjoy it.

 

Church family, do you know this? God’s Christmas gift for us doesn’t get old or consumed. God’s gift is getting bigger when we share it with others. Share God’s gift with others. By delivering God’s gift to others, we can give others God’s great Christmas gift to them too. And our joy will be greater when we share God’s gift with others more. How? Show them God’s love through your hearts. Show them God’s presence through your presence with them. Show God’s salvation by helping them. Show God’s reconciliation by making efforts to reconcile with others.

 

When we share God’s gift with others, the world will see God’s blessings through us, and the world will be transformed to the kingdom of God more and more. Remember God’s gift for us is Jesus and Jesus is the best gift for all of us. Accept it! Unwrap it! Enjoy it! And share it! Amen! 

 

Called to Share and Witness

 

Response to Our Generous God      

 

Offering Song                                     Happy Birthday Jesus

 

Happy birthday, Jesus
I'm so glad it's Christmas
All the tinsel and lights
And the presents are nice
But the real gift is You

 

Happy birthday, Jesus
I'm so glad it's Christmas
All the carols and bells
Make the holiday swell
And it's all about You

 

Happy birthday, Jesus
Jesus I love You

 

⇞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.

 

⇞ Prayer of Dedication

All: Blessed Lord, you have given us your greatest gift—your very Word come to earth, to live with us and through us; you have filled us with your grace and truth— your holy child sent to free us from our bonds. How can we repay such divine generosity? Receive our thanks and praise. As you have given to us, so now we share your gifts and your grace with a world in need. May this offering help bring your light and love to those who still wander in darkness. 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       

 

⇞All who are able, please stand.

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