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Christmas Eve Service Ideas

Hey, it’s only the one worship service most people attend each year. We are sure you are not feeling any pressure to provide a Christmas Eve worship experience that inspires. We have searched the web and offer these great Christmas Eve traditions and service ideas so you don’t have to.

Christmas Eve worship services have been a long-standing tradition in the Christian church, with a history dating back centuries. The roots of this tradition can be traced back to the early Christian church, which celebrated the birth of Christ with a special service on December 25th. However, over time, this celebration began to shift to the evening of December 24th, known as Christmas Eve.

One of the earliest recorded instances of a Christmas Eve service took place in Rome in the year 336 AD. This service, known as “Christ’s Mass,” was held on the evening of December 24th and included a sermon, prayers, and the celebration of communion. As the Christian church grew and spread throughout the world, the tradition of Christmas Eve services evolved and adapted to the local customs and cultures. Today, many of the traditions associated with Christmas Eve services, such as candle lighting, carol singing, and the reading of the Christmas story, have been passed down through generations and are an integral part of the holiday season for many families.

How can we attract faith seekers for Christmas Eve church service?

It is good to remember that many of the people attending your Christmas Eve service are not regular attenders. Still, for many, attending church is one of their Christmas Eve traditions. Some of them may even feel a little guilt about their absence for the church. 

Pro Tip: Don’t be “that” person who comments on how long it’s been since someone has stepped foot in your building. It’s not a good look.

Traditions are a great way to help these people feel at ease and welcome. They are touchstones of familiarity. Use them as a way of creating a safe, welcoming space for everyone.

Some quick suggestions to make your Christmas Eve services special:

  1. Sing carols. For many of us (most of us) Christmas hymns and carols carry memories with them.  The key is finding the right balance with carols. Too many carols can become tiresome for many people. Take the opportunity to mix-and-match. People enjoy singing the classics, but you can also use this as a time to introduce people to newer or lesser-known carols, too. By the way, we’ve compiled a list of myths about Christmas carols and copyright you might want to check out.
  2. Advent wreaths. Just like Christmas music, an Advent wreath is a tradition that most have memories of. Need ideas for readings for your Advent candle lighting? Look here.
  3. Speaking of candlelight, light some candles. The visual experience can be powerful. Let’s be honest. This is something many of us look forward to doing all year long. Many churches sing “Silent Night” as everyone in the room lights a candle. Transitioning to a capella as the final candles are lit can be one of those “wow” moments people will talk about on Christmas Day,

Now that we have some of the basics covered, let’s explore Christmas Eve worship service ideas that can make your worship experience unique and memorable.

Often times, we focus on the sights and sounds of the season. But don’t forget your nose. The scents of the season can also help make your Christmas Eve services special. Spice up your Christmas Eve service with incense or scented candles. You can opt for familiar holiday favorites such as pine or cinnamon, or go for a more traditional route, such as burning real frankincense to give the church an exotic air.

Including a memorial candle dedication in a Christmas Eve service can be a touching way to remember and honor those who have passed on since the last holiday season. This can be a meaningful addition to the celebration that the congregation will appreciate, as it helps them include their lost loved ones in their holiday activities.

Using the Christmas Eve worship service as a way to help others is a great way to get the entire congregation involved in the spirit of sharing and giving that Christmas is all about. A Christmas Eve donation drive could be for food, toys, warm clothing, books, or other items that will then be donated to a local charity. This blog has some fantastic ideas for outreach activities during the holiday season.

Need an idea for a Christmas Eve skit or play to tell the Christmas story? This link has many optionsincluding several that are free or only require one rehearsal. Indeed, it’s a great idea to pay special attention to how kid-friendly your Christmas Eve service is. Involving children in your service helps foster Christmas Eve traditions that can serve your church for years and years. Plus, involving children in your service means that parents and families attend (maybe even grandparents and extended families, too). An easy way to involve children in worship that can work regardless of church size is to have children sing with the congregation or incorporate a children’s choir into the music for the service.

Involving children in a Christmas Eve service is a great way to share the joy of the season with the entire family. While not all children can participate in a nativity (or your church may not have enough youngsters to make this happen), they can be angels to form a choir that sings and rejoices to share the message of Christmas with the entire congregation.

Of course, Selfies …

Let’s face it. We live in the era of the selfie. Embrace it and use it to your advantage.

Make an area where guests can take a Christmas-themed selfie. People will have fun and your church will contribute to a fond holiday memory. This is the type of thing people will talk about on Christmas Day and after.

Pro Tip: Encourage people to post their selfies on social media and tag your church. You just gained free promotion for your ministry. We offer a set of graphics ready for your Christmas Photo Booth  right here.

How can we connect and follow-up with people beyond Christmas Eve?

A great way to generate buzz in advance of your Christmas Eve service is to use social media. This church created graphics such as this one (right) to ask people various holiday-themed questions in the week leading up to Christmas Eve.

This creates engagement on your church social media page. Recent changes Facebook has made to its algorithms means it is more important than ever that people actually comment on your posts (liking them is not enough). You can learn more about those changes here.

Engage with people right away. Encourage people to share examples of their Christmas Day traditions on social media with you. It’s a fun way to keep the connection going in a way that is authentic.


Christmas Eve Service FAQs

Christmas Eve Service FAQs

What should be included in a Christmas Eve service?

A Christmas Eve service should include elements that help the congregation connect with the meaning of the season, such as prayer, scripture reading, singing of Christmas carols, a message or sermon, and the celebration of communion. Other creative ideas include a live nativity, dramatic readings, and a candlelight service.

How to make Christmas Eve service special?

There are many ways to make a Christmas Eve service special, such as incorporating creative elements like a live nativity, dramatic readings, or a candlelight service. You can also involve the congregation by encouraging them to participate in the singing of Christmas carols or providing opportunities for them to share their own stories or traditions. Additionally, you can make the service interactive by incorporating multimedia elements like videos or images that help illustrate the Christmas story.

How do you involve children in Christmas Eve service?

Children can be involved in Christmas Eve services in a variety of ways, such as through a children's pageant, where they can dress up as characters from the nativity story and act out the events leading up to Jesus' birth. Other ideas include inviting children to participate in the reading of scripture, leading the congregation in a Christmas carol, or creating a special children's message or activity that ties in with the theme of the service.

What do you do at Christmas service?

A Christmas service typically includes elements that help the congregation connect with the meaning of the season, such as prayer, scripture reading, singing of Christmas carols, a message or sermon, and the celebration of communion. Other creative ideas include a live nativity, dramatic readings, and a candlelight service. The specific elements of the service may vary depending on the traditions and customs of the church.

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