It is Christmas Eve. It is one of my favorite days of the year and it is my favorite worship service of the year. I LOVE candlelight service. I don’t think there is any other service (perhaps a few on the mission trip) where I can feel God as much as I can during Candlelight Service.
Before we light the Christ Candle, I want to share a picture of the Youth Group the night we did our own Candlelight Service:
Anne Lamott is one of my favorite Christian writers and she distilled prayer down to the following:
“Help, Thanks, Wow.”
While I think that those three words can say just about everything you need in prayer, for the last two years I have the youth close our little service with the following poem, that I consider to be an amazing prayer. Or at least an amazing affirmation:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.
We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
The poem was written by Marianne Williamson. If you’ve heard the name, yes, the insane lady that is running for president. The author aside, I do love closing with this poem because candlelight service and the poem have the same message. We are not to keep our light to ourselves. We are to share it with others. When we share our light with others, they will share their light with others.
Let’s light the Christ Candle:
One: For weeks we have listened to obscure messages from ancient prophets.
In their words
we have caught glimpses of the light that is promised.
Now, though the wreath is ablaze
and all the candles of anticipation have been lit,
still there is one last prophecy to hear.
All: With eyes wide open,
ears attuned and hearts unguarded,
we gather around the wreath one last time,
longing to receive the Word within the words.
One: A reading from the Prophet Isaiah, Chapter 9, verses 2 to 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.
All: This night these words are fulfilled in our hearing
and in our living
for the promise of God has come to us.
Our lives are the manger
in whom the Christ child is born.
No longer do we seek light from another source;
now the light burns in our hearts
and we become love’s lamp.
One: So, we light the candle at the center of our wreath and our faith.
We light it in the name of the One who is the light,
and, as Mary did so long ago,
we name this light Jesus.
Have a great Christmas Eve everybody!