Sample Services For Christmas And Epiphany

Source: The Complete Library of Christian Worship, Robert E. Webber, General Editor

The entries in this section demonstrate the richness of the Christmas season. All congregations interested in worship renewal should examine the following services, which combine innovative and traditional ideas for Christmas, New Year, and Epiphany celebration.

A Christmas Eve Service

Below is the bare outline of a Christmas Eve service that can be adapted and suited to fit the character of any church. Because Christmas is an occasion of great rejoicing, the Christmas Eve service should bear all the marks of a great festive occasion.

A Christmas Communion Service

Christmas marks the culmination of the Advent season. The time of waiting is past, and God's people celebrate the arrival of their Messiah, who has visited and redeemed his people.

A Holy Family Service

In many liturgical traditions, the Sunday after Christmas is the celebration of the Holy Family. The emphasis on the Holy Family is a recent one, having originated in Canada in the nineteenth century and spreading since around the world. Given the breakdown of the family in the twentieth century, a day emphasizing the Christian family seems quite prudent.

A Children’s Christmas Service

The service below is designed to allow young people to participate. It may be used on a Sunday night or another appropriate time when the congregation gathers to celebrate Christmas.

Las Posadas (a Hispanic Christmas Service)

Hispanic Christians often celebrate Christmas with this Las Posadas service. This service dramatizes Mary and Joseph's search for a place to stay. It is normally celebrated during the Advent season. In its focus on the events immediately preceding Jesus' birth, it can be most appropriately used near or on the celebration of Christmas.

The Name Of Jesus Service

The traditional New Year's watchnight service can take on a new character if it is combined with the ancient Name of Jesus service. The historical beginnings of this service go back to the eighth century. The biblical motif celebrated is the naming of Jesus at the rite of circumcision, a ritual performed in Jewish tradition on the eighth day after birth.

The Covenant Renewal Service For The New Year

The covenant of renewal originated with Charles Wesley in 1755. The purpose of the service was to effect a renewal of faith through a renewal of the covenant with God. Forgotten for generations, the service has been recovered in the twentieth century. Below is the covenant which may be used in a New Year's watchnight service or in the service of the First Sunday of Epiphany (Baptism of our Lord).

A Traditional Protestant Epiphany Service

The following service is a creative adaptation of the traditional pattern and texts for worship on Epiphany. It will be of particular help for those who plan more formal Epiphany worship. For others, the commentary included with this service will provide a guide to thoughtful planning for the Advent season.

A Convergence Epiphany Service

The service outlined below is designed for January 6. Since many churches celebrate Epiphany on the first Sunday of January, much of the following material could be adapted or incorporated into a standard Sunday morning service in an evangelical or charismatic church. Adapt to local custom and style.