Tag Archives: Christmas Eve

Silent Night

Intro to Silent Night

 

The following is read by the Pastor, as the guitarist softly fingerpicks “Silent Night” in the background.  After the history is told, the congregation joins in singing “Silent Night” to the accompaniment of the acoustic guitar.

 It happened almost 200 years ago to this very night.  It was a cold clear starry night; a good time to be a Christian in the Alps of Austria.  In a stone church, known as St. Nicholas’ Catherdral, in the village of Oberndorf, an organist named Franz Gruber, and a Pastor named Josef Mohr collaborated on a song that changed Christmas Eve services for centuries to come.

As the story goes, Gruber was walking to the church during the daytime to practice the music for the Christmas Eve service.  To his surprise, the organ was inoperable.  Upon further investigation, Gruber discovered that the mice had chewed a hole through the bellows that supplies the pipe organ with the necessary wind pressure to produce sound.  He called for the Pastor in a panic.  As it turns out, Pastor Mohr had just finished writing a poem based on Luke 2:8.

 “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night”.

Gruber only had a few hours to come up with a melody which could be sung with the accompaniment of a lone guitar.  Later that evening, as the two men, backed by the choir, stood in front of the main altar in St. Nicholas Church and sang “Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!” for the first time, they could hardly imagine the impact their composition would have on the world.

What’s the miracle of “Silent Night?”  The words flowed from the imagination of a modest curate.  The music was composed by a musician who was not known outside his village.  There was no celebrity to sing at its world premiere.  Yet its powerful message of heavenly peace has crossed all borders and language barriers, conquering the hearts of people everywhere.

We will now sing “Silent Night” accompanied by a lone acoustic guitar tonight.

Note – All scripture text is NIV (Zondervan Publishing)

Christmas Reading from Luke 2

A Dramatic Reading of Luke 2:1-20 Using 3 Voices for Dec 24 or 25

 

This famous Christmas Eve scripture passage comes to new life using a technique of multi-part readers phasing in and out with each other.  It is helpful to practice this technique together before presenting it in worship.

 

NIV Version:
Reader 1, Reader 2 & Reader 3 in unison:  The Birth of Jesus
Reader 1:  In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
Reader 2 & Reader 1:  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)
Reader 2:  And everyone went to his own town to register.
Reader 2 & Reader 3:  So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea,
Reader 3:  to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
Reader 1 & Reader 3:  He went there to register with Mary,
Reader 1:  who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
Reader 2 & Reader 1:  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,
Reader 2:  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Reader 1, Reader 2 & Reader 3 in unison:  The Shepherds and the Angels
Reader 3:  And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
Reader 1 & Reader 3:  An angel of the Lord appeared to them,
Reader 1:  and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
Reader 1 & Reader 2:  and they were terrified.
Reader 2:  But the angel said to them,
Reader 1, Reader 2 & Reader 3 in unison: “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you:  You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Reader 3:  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
Reader 1 & Reader 3:  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
Reader 1:  When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another,
Reader 1 & Reader 2:  “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened,
Reader 2:  which the Lord has told us about.”
Reader 2 & Reader 3:  So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph,
Reader 3:  and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
Reader 3 & Reader 1:  When they had seen him,
Reader 1:  they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
Reader 1 & Reader 2:  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
Reader 2:  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Reader 2 & Reader 3:  The shepherds returned,  

Reader 3:  glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen,
Reader 1, Reader 2 & Reader 3 in unison:  which were just as they had been told.

 

KJ Version:
Reader 1, Reader 2 & Reader 3 in unison:  The Birth of Jesus
Reader 1:  And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
Reader 2 & Reader 1:  (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
Reader 2:  And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
Reader 2 & Reader 3:  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea,
Reader 3:  unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David)
Reader 1 & Reader 3:  To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
Reader 1:  And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
Reader 2 & Reader 1:  And she brought forth her firstborn son,
Reader 2:  and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Reader 1, Reader 2 & Reader 3 in unison:  The Shepherds and the Angels
Reader 3:  And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Reader 1 & Reader 3:  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them,
Reader 1:  and the glory of the Lord shone round about them:
Reader 1 & Reader 2:  and they were so afraid.
Reader 2:  And the angel said unto them,
Reader 1, Reader 2 & Reader 3 in unison:  Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Reader 3:  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Reader 1 & Reader 3: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Reader 1:  And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another,
Reader 1 & Reader 2:   Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass,
Reader 2:  which the Lord hath made known unto us.
Reader 2 & Reader 3:  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph,
Reader 3:  and the babe lying in a manger.
Reader 3 & Reader 1:  And when they had seen it,
Reader 1:  they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
Reader 1 & Reader 2:  And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
Reader 2:  But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
Reader 2 & Reader 3:  And the shepherds returned,
Reader 3:  glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen,
Reader 1, Reader 2 & Reader 3 in unison:  as it was told unto them.

 

Note – All scripture is from either the KJV or the NIV (Zondervan Publishing)

What does the Lord’s Prayer and “Away in a Manger” have in common?

Try singing this to “Away in a Manger”.  We plan to use it this coming Sunday (12/14) but it would work well for a 12/24 or 12/25 service as well.

 

Our Father in heaven, all praise to your name!

Your kingdom among us, your will done the same

By mortals and angels. Come, Lord, reign alone;

Oh, hear us and bless us from heaven’s high throne.

 

The bread that we yearn for provide us each day;

As we forgive others, our sins take away;

In times of temptation, to lead us be near;

From evil deliver your children most dear.

 

For yours is the kingdom; o’er all things you reign.

And your is the power; all things you maintain.

To you be the glory, resounding again

From all of creation, forever! Amen.

 

Source: wels.net