Image by John Ashley
Here is an important question for you to ponder.
Why worship on both CHRISTmas Eve and CHRISTmas Day?
I believe both days are special and should be celebrated in church. There are different sermons and different hymns and different reasons why we worship. As to the whys, I thought I’d let my Pastor / Dad’s letter to the people at Crown of Life explain why.
My Friends in Christ,
Why would someone attend worship on CHRISTmas Eve and on CHRISTmas Day?
Thanks for asking. (And I really mean that.)
I’ve actually had this conversation with a number of people – including some family members!
From a worship perspective, here’s how I approach it:
CHRISTmas Eve is the historical event. We hear the cry of a newborn in the stable. We hear the angel’s announcement. We run with the shepherds to see this glorious event.
CHRISTmas Day is our time to reflect on the event. We watch the Virgin Mother hold the One born to be ‘God with us’ (that’s what Immanuel means – Matthew 1:23b). We stand next to Joseph in wonder that ‘the Word is made flesh and dwells among us’ (John 1:14).
CHRISTmas Eve is energy and excitement at the ‘Good News of great joy’ (Luke 2:10). CHRISTmas Day is quiet contemplation as we ‘treasure these things in our hearts’ (Luke 2:29).
Luke 2:1-20 – the Christmas narrative – is the Gospel for CHRISTmas Eve.
John 1:1-14 – the meaning of the Christmas event – is the Gospel for CHRISTmas Day.
In light of the different themes, I write different sermons for CHRISTmas Eve and CHRISTmas Day. This year my sermon on CHRISTmas Eve will be: ‘What Child Is This?’ and on CHRISTmas Day it will be, ‘From Bedlam to Bethlehem.’
In addition, the hymns and music and solos and choir selections are different on each day. We’ll sing with joy and gladness on each occasion, but we’ll use different words and music about the birth of Christ to do so. Instrumentalists will be part of CHRISTmas Day worship, but not on CHRISTmas Eve.
And, as a Festival of the Church, the Lord’s Supper is celebrated on CHRISTmas Day, but not on CHRISTmas Eve.
I hope this helps you consider why it can be a wonderful part of your faith-life to worship with God’s people on both CHRISTmas Eve and on CHRISTmas Day.
Pastor Mark Barz
I hope this gives you something to ponder. I pray that you will considering joining God’s people in joyful celebration – wherever you are!
Andy and I will be worshipping at St. Paul’s on CHRISTmas Eve and Ascension on CHRISTmas Day. I look forward to celebrating the Savior who is to come and the Savior who has come!