a worship as you go service

Christmas Eve




The Good News of Christmas comes to us exactly where we are.  We do not have to feel a certain way–there is no demand that we manufacture joy or hopefulness or peace.  Some of the participants in the drama of Christmas had prepared for long arduous journeys, but for others the good news arrived suddenly like a bolt from the blue, 

Below are some optional recommendations for preparing yourself for a time of Christmas Eve worship. A service of Christmas Eve Candle Lighting begins here


Preparing a Space

Many of you will have received a Christ Candle from Shalom this Advent season. We have asked you each week to anticipate Christmas by preparing Advent charms to accompany your candle. Here are the instructions in case you missed a week or would still like to participate.


Receive a candle/ prepare a space. We anticipate the coming of Christmas by preparing a space in our homes to begin marking Advent. (If you for some reason didn’t receive a candle we invite you to find a simple white candle and choose a place to display it in your home.)


Scavenger Hunt/Painting Rock: Go on a Joy Scavenger Hunt alone or as a family. When you are finished find a smooth stone on which you can write the word JOY


Origami Peace Dove. Laura taught us how to make origami doves to symbolize peace. If you haven’t gotten a chance to make a dove, here is a helpful video.


A Dutch Woven Heart Basket. Instructions.

Alternative: You may also choose four small tea lights to surround your Christ candle.

Journaling or Discussion

Preparing your minds

Choose one of the Advent themes, Hope, Joy, Love or Peace and ask the following question:

1. Am I lacking in hope (or joy, peace, love) this Advent season?
2. When have I experienced joy (or love, peace, hope) this Advent season?

(This exercise can either be in the form of journaling or it can be a discussion with a friend or family member.)


Preparing your spirit

God, we ask you to keep watch with those who work or weep this holy night.  

We pray that you would tend the sick, give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, and shield the joyous.

We remember on this sacred night the 800,000 people who have died in the US during the pandemic.

We remember our own friends and family who have died this year.

We remember those who will be alone this Christmas or who struggle with mental health or addictions.  

Hear our prayer for those who have no homes or whose homes are not safe.

Hear our prayer for doctors and nurses who must work long hours caring for the sick and the dying. 

Hear our prayer for frightened and anxious people and for families in distress.

(Here you may include your own prayers and intercessions.)

God, we thank you for your promise to bring light to dark places.  Give us the courage to be loving, peaceful, joyous and hopeful for the sake of this world you love so very much.  




For many of us Christmas 2021 will not be as restrained as Christmas 2020.  Vaccinations and boosters have made it easier to celebrate Christmas with loved ones.  However, for others, 2021, will be another year of pared down family celebration and other restrictions.

This year we will once again miss the opportunity to sing carols together.  Throughout this Advent season I have often returned to a song by the group Sleeping at Last entitled Snow.  One line in particular sticks out as we prepare to worship quietly at home instead of packing into sanctuaries this Christmas Eve. 

So we sing carols softly

As sweet as we know

A prayer that our burdens will lift as we go

Like young love still waiting under mistletoe

We’ll welcome December with tireless hope

Let our bells keep on ringing

Making angels in the snow

And may the melody disarm us

When the cracks begin to show.

From “Snow” by Sleeping at Last 

Let us take a moment to think of particular friends who are worshipping in their own homes on Christmas Eve and pray a blessing over them.  Here are two options:

 May you experience the particular sweetness of family and friends this Christmas season

May you experience the sturdy knowledge that God is with you even in this time of darkness and  uncertainty

Christmas Eve Candle Lighting

Dim the lights


Luke 2.1-7

In those days, Caesar Augustus published a decree ordering a census of the whole Roman world. This first census took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All the people were instructed to go back to the towns of their birth to register. And so Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to “the city of David”—Bethlehem, in Judea, because Joseph was of the house and lineage of David; he went to register with Mary, his espoused wife, who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her delivery. She gave birth to her firstborn, a son; she put him in a simple cloth wrapped like a receiving blanket, and laid him in a feeding trough for cattle, because there was no room for them at the inn.

Light the Christ Candle


Away in the Manger

Sing or listen to a recording of Away in the Manger


Luke 2.8-14

There were shepherds in the area living in the fields and keeping night watch by turns over their flock. The angel of God appeared to them, and the glory of God shone around them; they were very much afraid. The angel said to them, “You have nothing to fear! I come to proclaim good news to you—news of a great joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in David’s city, a savior—the Messiah—has been born to you. Let this be a sign to you: you’ll find an infant wrapped in a simple cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in high heaven! And on earth, peace to those on whom God’s favor rests.”


Angels We Have Heard on High

Sing or listen to a recording of Angels We Have Heard on High


Luke 2.15-20

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see this event that God has made known to us.” They hurried and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger; once they saw this, they reported what they had been told concerning the child. All who heard about it were astonished at the report given by the shepherds. Mary treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart. The shepherds went away glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as they had been told.

The Inclusive Bible published by Sheed & Ward. 


Silent Night

Sing or listen to a recording of Silent Night



Feel free to send a picture of your Christ Candle or Christmas Eve celebrations
to everyone at shalomcc dot org

Candle, charms and instruction by Laura Meyer

Text by Jo Hatlem

Design by Trevor Bechtel