How to have a Christmas Eve candlelight service at home

It ’ second that charming time, late Christmas Eve. The class is all home, the gifts are sparkling under the tree and the Christmas lights shine colourfully from green bough. My sisters and I curl up in our darling spots on the sofa – our nightgowns on and teeth brushed .
For most kids, this is when imaginations whirl with the possibilities of what tomorrow, Christmas day, will bring – new toys, books and games, and adequate sugar to make our teeth ache .
My sisters and I are dizzy with the exhilaration of it all, however our minds are drawn cursorily to my forefather ’ mho voice as he begins to read us a history. My mother ’ randomness fingers move piano across the piano keys, and we ’ rhenium taken to a different earth .

The real meaning of Christmas

This scene is one very conversant to me. It ’ s the like set I ’ ve found myself in about every Christmas Eve, whether seven-years-old or 27-years-old.

While my parents bought us Christmas presents each year – and Santa normally left behind “ evidence ” of his visit Christmas good morning – my parents wanted to make certain our budding hearts and minds knew precisely what Christmas was very all about .
One day, as my dad was reading through a Christmas version of a magazine for music directors, he came across a Christmas candlelight play. originally intended as an natural process for a church service, he realized it could be a fantastic tradition to start in our own home .
I remember feeling a mix of curiosity and reluctance the foremost fourth dimension he announced we would be holding a Christmas Eve family devotions. I was used to our typical Christmas Eve ritual of going to church and then coming home to prepare a plate of cookies and milk for Santa. But devotions ? Hadn ’ t we already put in our “ God-time ” at church ?
however, as my dad searched for matches and we three girls carried out our arrogate job of scavenging for all the candles in the sign of the zodiac we could find, it was clear that something special was about to happen .

The story comes alive

once my sisters and I had gathered the candles, my dad told us to pick the ones that best represented the Biblical characters of the Nativity. We chose pink for Mary, blue for Joseph, white for the angels, green for the shepherds, brown university for the wise men and a belittled, cream-coloured candle for the baby Jesus .
When we were all seated and the candles arranged before us, my don began reading a narrative of Jesus ‘ give birth. As each Biblical character was introduced in the history, he would have us light their candle. Interspersed in the story were Christmas songs and hymn fit to that section of the fib. My mother played lightly on the piano as we sang along in the darkness, our faces becoming increasingly illuminated by the glowing light of the candles .
Enthralled by the history coming alive before our eyes, my sisters and I listened intently as my forefather described the joy and wonder of our Saviour ’ mho parentage. We heard with our ears how far the wise men travelled to see this bantam baby ; we saw with our eyes the burning glow of clean as the angels of the Lord appeared with songs of joy ; and we sang with new understanding the care for songs of Christmas. Most real number of all was seeing our parents ’ faces filled with awe and reverence as they told us a fib they already knew by affection .

A light that never goes out

As the Christmas floor neared its conclusion, my founder described how the wise men returned to their own country, and he blew out their candles. Next, the shepherds went back to employment and the angels returned to heaven ; we blew out their candles one by one. And finally, my father read how Mary and Joseph finally came to the end of their earthly lives. Their candles were blown out a well, leaving lone Jesus ’ burning light .
As we sat in the now about wholly darkened room, my beget read in a hush voice : “ But the Light that began in Bethlehem was life. And this life, Jesus Christ, was the Light of all humanness. The light still shines in the dark, and the dark has never put it out. And it all began on a silent, holy night. .. long ago. .. ”

A tradition of hope

Each Christmas Eve since I was a modest child, we ’ ve held this ceremony in our home. And after each candle is blown out, no matter how old we are, we hush linger in silence, watching the light of Jesus burn brilliantly on. It ’ mho constantly the smallest candle of all – possibly even the most humble – even in a roomful of dark, its glow is herculean. And full of hope .
now that I ’ megabyte older, I understand the symbolism better. It is comforting to be reminded that though this worldly concern seems darkness, and though our earthly lives will be snuffed out someday, Jesus ’ light will remain as strong and steady as ever. The iniquity will never consume it .
I will constantly regard this tradition with deep reverence, a well as appreciation for my parents ’ creativity and desire to intentionally teach us the substantial mean of Christmas. When we were small, I ’ megabyte sure we sometimes squirmed ; or, as teens, felt restlessness at having already heard the story. But there has never been a time when we didn ’ t end up sitting together in silent wonder, appreciation or consideration, watching that single candle burn on .

Pass on the story

possibly you, besides, have a desire to teach your children that Christmas is a clock to remember Jesus ’ birth and to thank God for His amaze, and enduring, Gift of hope .
Provided below is an adaptation of the Christmas candlelight drama. possibly your kin can use it, or even personalize it in your own unique way, to experience the Christmas fib in a fresh way this year .
Tips to help you prepare :

  • If you don’t have a lot of candles in your home, take your children to the store and have them pick out inexpensive candles representing the Nativity. Make sure you have sturdy candleholders and matches or a lighter.
  • As always, be careful using fire around young children. If you have very small children, you may want to display the candles on a bookshelf or ledge where they can’t reach the flames.
  • Lyrics to the Christmas songs can be found in most hymnals or by using an online search engine. If you don’t have a piano or other instruments to use, sing a cappella or have a CD ready to sing along with.
  • Try to get everyone in the family involved. Take turns being the narrator, playing the music, picking out the candles or lighting and blowing them out.

A Family Christmas Candlelight Service*

Sing “O Come All Ye Faithful”
Narrator: And it came to pass that a proclamation was issued by Caesar Augustus that a census should be taken. And everyone went to his own town to register .
thus Joseph went up from the township of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem, the township of David, because he belonged to the house and agate line of David. (Light the Joseph candle.)

He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. (Light the Mary candle.)
Sing “O Little Town of Bethlehem”
Narrator: While they were there, the prison term came for the baby to be born, and she gave give birth to a son, whom they named Jesus. (Light the Christ candle.) She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the hostel .
Sing “Away in a Manger”
Narrator: And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping vigil over their flocks at night. (Light the shepherd candles.)
Sing “The First Noel”
Narrator: suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared to them (light the tallest angel candle as narrator continues), and the glory of the Lord fall around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “ Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of big gladden that will be for all the people. today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you ; he is messiah the Lord. This will be a augury to you : You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. ”
And abruptly a great party of celestial host appeared with the saint (light all of the angel candles as narrator continues), praising God and saying, “ glory to God in the highest, and on land peace to men on whom his favor rests. ”
Sing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”
Narrator: The shepherds said to one another, “ Let ‘s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about. ” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child .
Sing “Go Tell It on the Mountain”
Narrator: After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “ Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews ? We have come to worship him. ” (Light the wise men candles.)
The leading they had seen in the eastwent ahead of them until it stopped over the space where the child was. When they saw the leading, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw Jesus with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped Him. then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of aureate, incense and myrrh .
Sing “What Child is This?”
Narrator: then, having been warned in a dream not to go second to Herod, the fresh men returned to their area by another route. (Extinguish the wise men candles.)
And the shepherds returned to their work, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen. (Extinguish the shepherd candles.)
And the angels returned to heaven. (Extinguish the angel candles.)
And many years by and by, Mary and Joseph, being flesh and bone, came to the end of their lives on worldly concern. (Extinguish the Mary and Joseph candles.)
But the Light that began in Bethlehem was animation. And this life, Jesus Christ, was the Light of all world. The easy calm shines in the iniquity, and the dark has never put it out .
And it all began on a dumb, holy place night. .. long ago. . .
Close by singing “Silent Night”

* Inspired by “ A Christmas Candlelight Drama, ” from The Music Leader, a erstwhile publication of LifeWay .

Julie Vaughan was the editorial conductor at Focus on the Family Canada at the time of publication .

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