12.24.11 Worship Confessional

 “On a wintery night in an obscure cave the infant Jesus was a humble, naked, helpless God who allowed us to get close to him.” (Brennan Manning)

Therefore see to it that you do not treat the Gospel only as history, for that is only transient; neither regard it as example, for it is of no value without faith. Rather see to it that you make this birth your own and that Christ be born in you.” (Martin Luther)

Last evening we gathered on a wintry night to celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ into our world. Our Christmas Eve gathering is always quite different from our normal Sunday morning gatherings. For starters, since our gathering is in the evening, the room is dark and that enables us to a great deal more with visuals. We began worship with a video from called Heaven’s Light Shines and it set the pace from the first moment for our gathering.

Perhaps my favorite moment of our gathering was the inclusion of a beautiful choral piece written by Morton Lauridsen called, “O Magnum Mysterium.” I was introduced to this piece by Ian Cron during the Refuge Retreat in October and tonight was the perfect spot to share it with our community of faith. The text is is a responsorial chant from the Matins of Christmas and many composers have reworked the chant into a contemporary setting.

O great mystery
and wonderful sacrament
that animals should see the new-born Lord
lying in a manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear
Christ the Lord.

At the conclusion of my message from John 1, we played a recording of the piece across a simple visual loop of a single red candle and in the quiet we were drawn deeper into the risk and reality of the great mystery of God taking on flesh and dwelling among us.

Question: How was your Christmas Eve worship? How did you welcome the Christ Child in your lives afresh this year?

Here is our complete worship flow:

  • Video: Heaven’s Light Shines (Floodgate Productions)
  • Scripture Reading: Luke 2:1-7
  • Come and Worship (Bebo Norman)
  • O Come Let Us Adore Him (Hillsong)
  • Scripture Reading: Luke 2:8-14
  • Angels We Have Heard on High (Chris Tomlin)
  • The Story (Barb York)
  • Message (John 1:1-5, 14)
  • O Magnum Mysterium (Morton Lauridsen)
  • Silent Night (Matt Maher)
  • Unison Prayer
  • Joy to the World (Chris Tomlin)

You can learn what other communities of faith experienced in worship this Christmas at The Worship Community.

Stay connected…


  1. Kathleen Pascoe says:

    The song O Magnum Mysterium is so beautiful. It has been my prayer that western Christians would discover with hearts of faith the beauty and poignant and profound meaning of our faith traditions.

  2. Wow! What a great selection of music! There are a couple that I’m not familiar with that I’ll have to look at for next year. I love O Magnum Mysterium! There are a few different versions that I’ve heard and they are all beautiful.

    Matthew Starner recently posted..Sunday Setlist – Christmas Edition

  3. Terry,
    Great service, flow and blend of elements. Heaven’s Light Shines was a great video piece. I’m going to save this into my Christmas Eve Evernote file as an idea resource for the future.
    Chris Gambill recently posted..Worshiping Together: 12/25/11

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