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December 2011

The Power of Light

For the Christmas Eve Service

From “Sitting on the Rainbow”

Scripture Reference: Isa. 9:2 “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them has light shined”

Preparation: Bring a flashlight or a candle. Arrange with the ushers to turn off the lights at the appropriate time.

It’s Christmas Eve! It’s a wonderful and magical time. On Christmas Eve, we make our final preparations for the arrival of the Christ Child. Jesus, the Light of the world, is coming! In the weeks before Christmas, there are many reminders that the Light is coming. People string lights around their houses, we light the candles on the Advent wreath, around the world people light lanterns, and luminaries line the pathways to house and church.

(Here you may add your own descriptions of the symbolic use of lights at Christmas. My example follows.) I remember when I was a little girl on Christmas Eve, Mother would decorate the Christmas tree with real candles. Then the family would file into the living room singing and see that glorious tree with all of its glowing lights, and we would all gasp! The tree was a reminder of Jesus, the beautiful Light of the world.

Thousands of years ago, before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah told the Israelites that a special light was coming. Isaiah said, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them has light shined” (Isa. 9:2 nrsv). In much of our world today, even the darkest nights are lit up with street lamps and house lights and car headlights. So our “darkness” often isn’t as dark as that in Isaiah’s world. But even so, when we are in the dark, one light can make a difference.

Now I want everyone to quietly hold someone’s hand and try to sit very still while the ushers switch off the lights. We’re going to pretend that we are the people who live in the land of deep darkness. (Lights off.) Now that it’s dark, let’s see what a difference one light makes. (Light candle or flashlight.)

Jesus comes at Christmas as the light to the people in the dark. And even though we modern people have our electric lights and flashlights and streetlights, we are all born in the darkness of sin. Jesus, the Light of the world, comes to push back the darkness of sin, to shine so brightly in our lives that there is not the tiniest bit of dark sin left.

As the ushers turn the lights back on, I invite you to open your hearts to the coming of Jesus, the Light of the world, while we pray together.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, our Savior, thank you for coming into the world as the great Light. Thank you for pushing back the darkness of our sin and surrounding us with the warmth and healing light of your presence. We praise you for Christmas, Lord. Help us to celebrate your glory.

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