Some churches are already planning Christmas — and some have been at it for months already. Even low churches observe the Church’s calendar at Christmas. At major Christian calendar events — Christmas, Good Friday, Easter — Scripture should take the lead. Our words fail in comparison to the sacredness of Scripture, to the beautiful simplicity of the Story, of the songs that have gathered around that Story, and of the Eucharist that brings it all into focus. Our “events” detract from the Event. Our glory diminishes the Story.
So my ideal Christmas service is one in which the reading of major biblical texts does all the work. Congregants aren’t looking for special sermons with special insights; nor are they looking for performance. They are gathered to hear the Story and enter into the Story. Here is a good selection of texts which can be inserted into your Order for Worship:
Isaiah 9:1-7; 52:7-10; 62:6-7, 10-12
Matthew 1:18-25; 2:1-14
1 Corinthians 15:3-5
Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7
Each text can have a 2-3 sentence introduction; songs can be interspersed; we can all gather then at the table for Christmas Eucharist. When we eat and drink we enter into the Story. That’s why we gather.
We don’t need anything more or anything else.