Christmas Eve is an evening loaded with so many hopes and expectations that no night will ever really live up to the hype. Some of the adults are looking for a quiet and serene evening of beautiful music and candlelight. Others are looking to engage their children who are focused on cookies and presents. While still others are struggling, bringing tender, triggered hearts to worship. The pandemic adds even more expectations with some folks wanting a room full of hugs and song while others want a technologically flawless worship from home.
Now I have stressed myself out just writing about these realities of Christmas Eve. As church leaders, we are holding so much every year at Christmas time. We are balancing the needs of our folks while trying to live faithfully into a story that is sweet, transformative and terrifying all at the same time. How can we do it? I’ve included here some of my favorite tips and a free sample Christmas Eve liturgy with Lesson and Carols script. But here’s my biggest tip for ministers and leaders this season- remember that Jesus will be born regardless. While God is certainly grateful for all of our Advent midwifery, we are attending to the miracle; we are not the miracle itself. So, remember that Jesus comes as a gift for you too. Take a deep breath and plan away!
Tips for intergenerational Christmas Eve:
- Keep little hands busy- one favorite tradition in our congregation is to hand out nativity pieces from several different sets to children as they come in. Kids attending virtually can color pictures of the nativity or show their own sets at home. As we move through the lessons and carols, the children bring up to the altar the different characters as we read the corresponding story. They build quite the eclectic scene, but it keeps them focused and listening for their turn.
- Use the story- Christmas Eve only happens once a year, so let the story lead you. Whether you do a pageant, preach a sermon, or have a carol sing, let the coming of the Christ child take center stage. If children are present, let them be helpers and storytellers.
- Include interactive elements like lighting candles (or glowsticks!), following the star, putting hay in the manger, tucking in baby Jesus, or opening gifts of peace, hope, joy and love.
But here’s my biggest tip for ministers and leaders this season- remember that Jesus will be born regardless. While God is certainly grateful for all of our Advent midwifery, we are attending to the miracle; we are not the miracle itself. So, remember that Jesus comes as a gift for you too. Take a deep breath and plan away!
Check out this FREE downloadable Lessons and Carols Script
Christmas Eve Lessons and Carols Script
Looking to refresh your congregation’s traditions for Christmas Eve? This lessons and carols liturgy includes a full script of written introductions and transitions for the lessons and interactive activities for the congregation.