I must admit, growing up in the church of fellow contributor, John Cashion, the Christmas Eve service at Beaver Dam Baptist (KY) was always a service that resonated with me for many days after the event.
There are many aspects to this thinking, but for me, I think this service stuck with me because it was so different – in a good way.
Worshiping ON Christmas Eve is just an awesome idea. So many songs we sing and the Christmas story itself resonate in that evening. There is something to be said for perfect timing. Meaning, singing “O Holy Night” will take on two different meanings when sung on December 2 compared to December 24.
I am thankful for the creative elements of worship John put into every Christmas Eve service at BDBC over the years. I was grateful to be a participant in many of those services as a child and youth.
The creative thinking for that service has carried over into my ministry. Our service isn’t modern – with high-tech lighting or motion videos behind the lyrics on the screen – but it is unique compared to our typical worship on Sunday mornings.
We use an ensemble, solos, light candles, take communion, read a children’s book to the kids, encourage the kids to wear their Christmas pajamas (9pm service), have a devotion by our pastor, and close the service by singing “Silent Night” by candlelight (something I stole – er – borrowed from John).
The lighting is dimmed. The service is at a later time than any service all year long. The music/worship elements are totally, undoubtedly thematic.
The Christmas Eve service also brings in many folks who wouldn’t normally come to church on a Sunday morning. Many guests will come with family members to something like this, so it is a great way to share the gospel with them. That is one reason we do communion. Taking the Lord’s Supper allows us to share the Christmas story and then finish the story of Christ by sharing of His sacrifice for us on the cross.
Our folks come forward to receive the elements of the Lord’s Supper on Christmas Eve. This is something we usually don’t do, so this also makes it different. They come forward to take the elements, then are handed a candle as they go back to their seat. After communion, the pastor lights the candle form the single candle on the communion table and begins to share the flame down the center aisle. The flame is passed down each pew until all candles are lit.
After we leave the service, its around 10pm. This worship service serves as a great close to many family functions on Christmas Eve for our congregation. Our church did not do a Christmas Eve service before the current staff came, so we have developed it into a wonderful “tradition” of sorts.
Leader – What do YOU do on Christmas Eve? Participant – What sticks out to you from your church’s service?
Christmas has its cradle, where a Baby cried;
Did the lantern’s shadow show Him crucified?
Did He foresee darkly His life’s willing loss?
Christmas has its cradle and Easter has its cross.
-Rae E. Whitney