Christmas Eve 2018, Year C — Planning Notes
Prepare the Way Worship Series: ARRIVE
Christmas Eve — December 24, 2018
January 1 New Year’s Eve / Holy Name of Jesus
January 6 Epiphany Sunday/Epiphany
January 13 Baptism of the Lord
January 11 Human Trafficking Awareness Day
January 20 Human Relations Day
January 21 Martin Luther King Jr. Day
January 18-25 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
January 20 Ecumenical Sunday
Planning for this Series
After yesterday’s Welcome, today we have Arrive. Arrive sums up the event of the Christ entering into the world. We read the familiar story in Luke 2, where Mary and Joseph arrive in Bethlehem; Jesus arrives into the world through birth; and the shepherds arrive to worship the baby. The Isaiah texts looks to the arrival of the Messiah.
Christmas Eve, or the Evening of Christmas. In the cultures of the Bible, the day begins not at sunrise, but sunset. In Judaism, Sabbath begins on Friday at sunset. Christians continue to commemorate this ancient way of telling time in the various “Eve” services of the year, including All Saints Eve, The Great Vigil of Easter (Easter Eve) and beginning the daily office with evening prayer. With sunset on December 24, Advent ends and Christmas begins. After the Easter Vigil (Easter Eve), this is the holiest night in the church's celebration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Taylor Burton-Edwards).
Also remember that Christmas Eve and Easter are your highest visitor Sundays. Be sure to have extra ushers on hand to greet and help seat people. Sing familiar Christmas hymns. Consider having a gift for visitors that they can take when they exit the church that includes information about upcoming events or worship series and your church’s contact information.
Above all, celebrate the coming of Christ into the world. This is a night of joy and celebration!
If you are interested in developing more services within the Christmas Season this year, be sure to look at The Three “M’s” of Christmas Season: Mystery, Martyrs, and Magnificat. For our series, we will continue with “Prepare the Way” until Epiphany, and then launch a four-week series called “Greater Things.”