The light pierces the night as a reminder of God’s promise fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  The Christ candle, lit this evening, will burn at all of our worship services until Good Friday.  Like the shekinah  glory of God in the tabernacle, this candle reminds us of Jesus–God-with-us–Who promises to be in the midst of His people when two or three gather together in His name.  As we go out into the darkness of our world, let us take the light and love of Christ with us to our neighbors.  

The Gathering of the People of God

Rowland Anderson
Harry Anderson
Cynthia Arden                                            


O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;
O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, 
O come, let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord.

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation, 
O sing, all ye citizens of heav’n above; 
Glory to God, all glory in the highest;
O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord.

Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning, 
O Jesus, to thee be all glory giv’n; 
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing; 
O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord.

Covenant Hymnal, #147


(Luke 1:78-79, Isaiah 9:2, Psalm 96:11-13, Isaiah 9:6)

Leader :  By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit  in darkness
People:  and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Leader:  Thus, the people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light.

People:  Those who lived in a land of deep
darkness – on them light has shined.

Leader:  Let the heavens be glad and let the earth rejoice. 
Let the sea roar, and all that fills it.  Let the field exalt and everything in it.

People:  Then shall all the trees of the forest
sing for joy before the Lord; for He is coming.

Leader:  For He is coming to judge the earth.
People: He will judge the world with
righteousness and the peoples with His truth. 

All:  And He will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light:
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of this heav’n
No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!

Covenant Hymnal, page 154


Leader:  O God, You have made this night holy by giving to the world the gift of Your Son, who was born of Your servant, Mary.  Let His light shine in and through us even more brightly than it will shine from the candles in this place.  Help us to hear Your word and to celebrate Your everlasting love through Christ Jesus, our Lord.  Amen. 

The Lord will be your everlasting light.

Scripture:  Isaiah 60:1-3, 18-22

1Arise, shine; for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth,
    and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
    and His glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light,
    and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

18Violence shall no more be heard in your land,
    devastation or destruction within your borders;
you shall call your walls Salvation,
    and your gates Praise.

19 The sun shall no longer be
    your light by day,
nor for brightness shall the moon
    give light to you by night;
but the Lord will be your everlasting light,
    and your God will be your glory.
20 Your sun shall no more go down,
    or your moon withdraw itself;
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
    and your days of mourning shall be ended.
21 Your people shall all be righteous;
    they shall possess the land forever.
They are the shoot that I planted, the work of My hands,
    so that I might be glorified.
22 The least of them shall become a clan,
    and the smallest one a mighty nation;
I am the Lord;
    in its time I will accomplish it quickly.

Leader:  We gather to celebrate the birth of the one
who is the light of the world.

People:  We are here to worship God and His Son Jesus Christ,
born this night in Bethlehem of Judea.

Leader:  We light the candle of hope to remind us of the promises made by the prophets that God would raise up a Savior for his people Israel and through Him bless all the nations.
People:  Let the heavens and the earth rejoice. 

Cynthia Arden, instrumental   

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in his hand
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth he stood,
Lord of lords in human vesture,
In the body and the blood,
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heav’nly food.

Covenant Hymnal, # 127

There shall be endless peace.

Scripture:  Isaiah 9:2-7

The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
    on them light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation,
    you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before You
    as with joy at the harvest,
    as people exult when dividing plunder.
For the yoke of their burden,
    and the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor,
    You have broken as on the day of Midian.
For all the boots of the tramping warriors
    and all the garments rolled in blood
    shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
For a child has been born for us,
    a son given to us;
authority rests upon His shoulders;
    and He is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually,
    and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
    He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time onward and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Leader:  We light the candle of peace to remind us
that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace.

People:  Our Lord brings the peace of God to us and calls us to pass the peace to the world.  How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace.

All: Thanks be to God!

Come, you people of the promise,
Sing for joy! The time is near!
God, the covenant fulfilling,
Soon among us will appear!
As proclaimed in prophet’s story,
Christ will come in humble glory
God with us, Emmanuel!

Long in darkness we have waited,
Through the shadows made our way,
Gloom and sorrow our companions
As we longed for sings of day
Great our need for hope and healing,
Some great light our God revealing,
God with us, Emmanuel!

God’s own Son shall dwell among us;
Shadows banish in that light.
Earth shall know his peace and justice:
Christ who comes shall rule in might.
Let our joy dispel all sadness:
He who comes turns tears to gladness
God with us, Emmanuel!

From the Covenant Hymnal, page 130


My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.

Scripture:  Luke 1:26-49

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name Him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of His ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; He will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
    Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.

Leader:   We light the candle of joy to remind us that when Jesus is born in us we have joy and that through Him there will be everlasting joy on earth.
People:  Just as Mary rejoiced in the birth of Jesus,
so do we find joy in our Lord’s birth. 

O HOLY NIGHT                                       
Bob Auger

God so loved the world that he sent His Son to save His people from their sins.

Scripture:  Matthew 1:18-25

18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20 But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall name him Emmanuel,”

which means, “God is with us.” 24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25 but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named Him Jesus.

Leader:  We light the candle of love to remind us that Jesus is God’s gift of love to all God’s children – and that in Him, the light of love triumphs over darkness.
People:  For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, so that through Him we might have eternal life.

Almost There
Leah, Kara & Dana

The glory of the Lord shone around them.

Leader:  We light the Christ candle to remind us that the light of the world was born this night.
People:  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder.

Leader:  His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
People:  He is also called Emmanuel,
for in Him God is with us.

Emmanuel, Emmanuel,
His hame is called Emmanuel.
God with us, revealed in us,
His name is called Emmanuel.

Covenant Hymnal, # 183

Scripture:  Luke 2:1-6

1In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.

Cynthia Arden, Dana & Leah Jackson, Erin Stoel

Scripture:  Luke 2:7-12

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped Him in bands of cloth, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”

Leader: …. “Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 

All:  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host, praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

(verse 1 only)

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply
Echo back their joyous strains.
Gloria… in excelsis Deo.
Gloria… in excelsis Deo.

Covenant Hymnal, page 162

Scripture:  Luke 2:15-20

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

(verses 2-3)

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
Say what may the tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song.
Gloria… in excelsis Deo.
Gloria… in excelsis Deo.

Come to Bethlehem and see
Him whose birth the angels sing;
Come Adore on bended knee
Christ the Lord, the newborn King
Gloria… in excelsis Deo.
Gloria… in excelsis Deo.

Covenant Hymnal, page 162

The true light, which enlightens all people, has come.

Leader:  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it… The true light, which enlightens everyone, has come into the world. 

People:  The Word has become flesh to make His dwelling among us; We have seen his glory – the glory of the Father’s one and only Son – full of grace and truth. 

All:  O Lord, Emmanuel, enable us to love others as you have loved us by sharing Your light with the world. 

ALL IS WELL              
The Augers


Leader:  Just as our candles shine Christ’s Light, so too may we reflect Christ’s light and love to the world.  The Light of Christ be with you.
People: And also with you 

Silent night! holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
‘Round yon virgin mother and child,
Holy infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night! holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight,
Glories streams from heaven afar,
Heav’nly hosts sing alleluia;
Christ, the Savior, is born!
Christ, the Savior, is born!

Silent night! holy night!
Son of God, love’s pure light,
Radiant beams from thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

Covenant Hymnal, #172

 (When the ushers come to the end of your pew, light
your candle from the usher’s candle and then pass the
Light of Christ to the person next to you.) 

All: Almighty God, give us such love and wonder, that with shepherds and wise men and pilgrims unknown, we may come to adore the holy Child, the promised King; and with our gifts worship Him, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.


Leader:  Go into the world in peace with hope, joy, and love. Love and serve God.  Rejoice in the power of the Holy Spirit, and the coming of Christ into the world.

All:  Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the
Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and
will be forever.  Amen.


Joy to the World! The Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let ev’ry heart prepare him room,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and heav’n and nature sing.

Joy to the earth! The Savior reigns;
Let all their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, Repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse if found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness,
And wonders of his love,
And wonders of his love,
And wonders, wonders of his love.

From the Covenant Hymnal, page 146

Ravenswood Evangelical Covenant Church
December 24, 2021  
Service based on the pastoral ministry of
Dr. Michael VanHorn.  

"With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade." (Mark 4:30-32 NRS)