Christmas Eve service ideas
I realize it's a little early to be thinking about the Christmas eve service at our church (who am I kidding? I should have this in the bag by now, right?!), but it's taking reign in my worship planning thoughts right now.
We've typically done a traditional Christmas eve service in the past - Christmas narrative readings and carols - but I'd like to do something a little different and a little more fresh.
I have fantastic musicians, but - of course - many will be away for Christmas eve. And doing a musical or play is out of the question - I don't have the resources for that right now.
I'm not looking to move away from the traditional mojo altogether - people would be in an uproar if we didn't sing carols. I just want to offer a different way to present them in the service.
So do you have any fresh ideas that are different from the complete traditional Christmas eve service?
There are probably some good Christmas video shorts available that you could use to introduce scripture or songs. I don't know if your church includes the Lord's Supper (communion) in this service, but it is a great opportunity for a very meaningful observance.
And I have to plug my Christmas song, which adds a sweet element to such a service. You can download the version with words, and the soundtrack in 2 keys from soundcloud. The song is copyrighted, but I hold no strings for its usage; it is for God's glory.
If you have musicians that can learn this with guitar , that is cool with me. I have never had a chord chart done.
Christmas Eve ideas
I don't think you're planning too early for Christmas at all - I'm not sure you can ever start planning too early as a worship leader or pastor; I'm doing mine as we speak, too! As far as new ideas go, I understand the sentiment - as a leader, you get into the rut of doing the same Christmas traditions every year and I can appreciate wanting to branch out and do something fresh. I get that same bug, too - but if there's anything I've learned in having served at both very conservative/traditional churches and pretty contemporary ones, it's that people want the traditional, familiar stuff at Christmastime. The holidays are such an emotional time for just about everybody ("emotional", meaning all the good and bad that comes with that) and people come to church looking for that nostalgic, warm-fuzzy feeling...they want the candles and pretty decor, they want to sing all the old carols they've been singing since childhood, the simple stuff. Most of all, I think they want to hear the story, straight out of the scriptures - and I don't know that it really has to be any more complicated than that. Even people who aren't particularly religious (your CEOs, as we like to call them) will still come to services on Christmas Eve longing for that familiar, simple experience - it's a comfort to them. I do get the desire to want to change things up a bit, but I'd simply suggest to approach that with great caution - and do it in limited amounts. Remember that this is the time of year when people go to Grandma's house EXPECTING to see her famous red velvet cake that she's been making since God knows when - they look forward to it, no one ever gets tired of it, and it's not the same without it. As for actual ideas, one thing I've seen done that's different but still taps into that traditional "vibe" of the service is to have various members of the church get up and do a short "what Christmas means to our family" testimony. You hand-pick these people, you make sure they keep it short and sweet, of course - but maybe pick people from across the generations - a teenager, some new parents, a blended family, one of your respected seniors, etc. Maybe you could even tie your music selections/scripture readings in with what these people say - like, if one family talks about their gift-giving traditions, that's when you sing, "We Three Kings", etc., and the pastor ties it in with the gifts of the Magi. Also, I don't know if your church's stage area lends itself to this, but I've always thought it would be cool to have a set that replicates a family's living room - a couch and furniture, rocking chair, the Christmas tree with gifts, and a fireplace at center stage. Then you could make your whole service kinda like that of the family gathering around to sing carols at home. Again, you tap into people's need for nostalgia, and it's simple and meaningful. Finally, one of the neatest things our church did several years back was about as simple as you can get...we simply had our pastor sit off-center stage and he read the Nativity story right our of scripture in excerpts (taking passages from all the gospel accounts). He'd read a short passage, then the congregation would sing a carol that correlated to that particular passage. Examples: he's reading about Mary's visitation from the angel, then the church sings,"Mary, Did You Know?". When he reads about Mary and Joseph making the journey to Bethlehem for the census, we sang, "O Little Town of Bethlehem'. When he got to the part about the angels and shepherds, we sang, "The First Noel"...you get the idea. (I kinda stole the idea from Disney - I sang in their Christmas Candlelight ceremony years ago while in high school - we used the same kind of format.) Finally, one last idea you could incorporate is to use some of the more contemporary worship songs in some simple medleys with the traditional carols - "Here I Am to Worship" and "In Christ Alone" both address Jesus coming to earth in the flesh; it would be perfectly appropriate to mix them in with the typical Christmas songs. Hope this helps - sorry, I can be a bit long-winded, can you tell?
Originally Posted by Kendall Clary
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