Christmas Eve is a special time—it is time that is “already…but not yet.” We live our lives during the eve of God’s coming. The kingdom of God is so near—yet not fully here. Never-the-less we participate in the kingdom as we wait for its arrival. Tonight the anticipation is thick, and we share in that anticipation of a better tomorrow with those we love the most! Praise be to God! God is our constant hope! All advent long we have lit candles representing the coming of Christ (the light) to the world. Tonight as you wait in eager expectation, I invite you to once again light a candle as we begin this devotional. In your Christmas Eve devotional bags you will find a tea light candle and matches. As you light the candle recite together the Word of the Lord:
“All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.” (John 1:3-4)
This night is a foretaste of what the Kingdom of God is like—it is like the peace we are experiencing right now, gathered as we are with our families and friends. We know that the Lord has come and is coming—can there be any greater gift than the hope we feel at the holidays. As you continue on with the rest of this devotional, remember the joy found in what we have sung together as a congregation these past four weeks: “O, Come, O Come, Emmanuel…”
Read the following scripture texts. After each text recite the prayer that follows.
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 8: 1; 22-24; 27-31
Wisdom Plays and the World is Made
O God, our Creator
In your Wisdom we see the reflection
of your only begotten Child,
Jesus, the Christ.
As Wisdom played at your side
to make the world,
teach us joyfully to engage the world
with your beloved Child,
together to make all things new.
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 9: 2; 6-7
God’s Faithfulness Redeems Us
O God our Redeemer,
when we have strayed from your paths
You light our way home,
and send us your Holy One to guide the way.
Let us follow in the way of your Light,
walking faithfully with You
in the paths of justice and peace
which lead to abundant life.
Scripture Reading: Matthew 1: 18-23
Joseph Dreams of God-With-Us
O God of depth and mystery,
You call us beyond convention
to a way of risky faithfulness.
Fill our dreams with your truth
and our minds with your discernment
so that we, like Joseph,
may awaken with confidence and joy
to open our lives and make room for You.
Scripture Reading: Luke 2: 1; 3-7
Jesus is Born
O Fragile Savior
You come, unprotected,
into our dangerous world
and offer yourself as our Peace.
Let our Joy be to seek your Peace
let our Hope be to foster your Peace
let our Purpose be to announce your Peace
with all the fervor of the Angels and
all the courage of the Poor:
Glory to God in the Highest,
and on earth, God’s Peace!
Giving of the Card
Enclosed in your bag is a holiday card with a special message inside (you may remember these cards from last previous years). Think of another church member that you would like to pray a prayer of thanks to God for right now. Include a brief description of the content of that prayer in the card. Then address the card and send it to the person your thought of.
Also Enclosed in your bag are a few coin wrappers. One of the ways we share the joy of our savior coming into the world is by helping to make our world a place of love and equality. Currently our church supports a mission work in Guatemala called “Health Talents International.” Through that mission work we help people receive routine medical attention that they otherwise would not receive. We also sponsor two children, allowing them to receive education and other developmental tools that we take for granted. Scrounge for change in your home during the next week and see if you can fill the two coin wrappers. Bring in the full wrappers to church and we will send off a joint Christmas bonus to the people at Health Talents International for use at their discretion.
Your final task for the evening: Leave NO candy uneaten!
Jesse, Shannon, Cole, Manny, and our little angel Abigail