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(As we sing our closing hymn, we will each light our candles as we depart on
this “Christmas Eve” taking the light of Christ into the world)

“Silent Night” #277

Child/Youth: Visit your family, O God. Give us love, joy, and your peace.
Adult: O heavenly Father, as we prepare ourselves for the coming of your
Son, fill our hearts and lives with praise. Grant that we may be just and mer-
ciful, ready to help in the needs of our neighbor and conscious of your great
love for all the world. Fill the Christian family with your spiritual gifts of for-
giveness, patience, mutual love, and unending joy. All this we ask in the
name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Pastor: God bless you, brothers and sisters. May Christ keep us in the faith; sharing his
love and grace with the world, until that day when Christ returns not as a little child, but
as our Eternal King. Amen.

*Indicates the Congregation shall stand, as able

Bright Hope Laurel

We welcome our visitors today as you worship with us! We hope you will come again! If
you are looking for a church home and want to feel and experience the love of God,
Bright Hope Laurel United Methodist Church is the place for you!

United Methodist Church

Rev. Bruce Johnson, Pastor Andrea Bailey, Music Director

Elizabeth Hamrick, Pianist John Hamrick, Organist

Post Office Box 865 • Mars Hill, North Carolina 28754

(828) 689-5486 (Church) • (828) 689-5561 (Parsonage)
(828) 380-0158 (Pastor’s Cell Phone)
Church Web Address:
Thursday, December 24th, 2009 (Taken from The Global Board of Discipleship. Used with permission. All rights reserved)

A Service of Las Posadas

(Service of Shelter for The Holy Family) PEOPLE: Merciful God, we confess that often we find darkness more
comfortable than light. We confess that we find your good news fright-
“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in a manger, because there
was no place for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7, NRSV). ening and unsettling, especially when we consider its demands as well
as its promises. We confess that Christmas has become more to us
than the birthday of the Christ, partly because we do not want a Christ
In the Hispanic tradition of Latin American countries, one of the oldest celebrations is Las
Posadas. It was created by the Augustinian Father Diego de Soria (1587) as a way to -Child in our lives or in our world. Forgive us, break us, bend us, re-
introduce Christianity to the New World. It is a preparation for, and anticipation of, the make us. Give us the courage to lay ourselves open to the wonder and
birth of the Savior. This Mexican celebration meaning “The Inns” is a remembrance of the healing of your coming. Be born again into our world, be born again
difficult journey of Mary and Joseph through the streets of Bethlehem. Beginning on Decem-
ber 16th, this nine-day long celebration consists of a parade lead by the Virgen María into our hearts and lives. Hear now our silent and personal confessions
(Mary) who is followed by children representing angels, the Santos Reyes (Three Kings), and as we prepare ourselves for your nativity. The true light that enlightens
pastores y pastoras (shepherds and shepherdesses). Each day the group goes to a home and all has come into the world. That light shines on in the darkness, and
shares in one version of the dialog we share in below. Having “Three doors,” the group begs
for entry and is turned down at the first two doors. Eventually, the third is open and the the darkness has never been able to put it out. This is the good news:
group enters, sings Christmas Carols, shares the Christmas story, shares a meal, and then God has heard our confession. God has forgiven our sin. Thanks be to
Children break a piñata (representing the defeat of Satan by the Rod of Truth) and candy God!
falls from the sky (representing the grace and love of Jesus Christ). Immediately after
THE GREAT THANKSGIVING (The United Methodist Hymnal #13)
the service, the children are invited to come into the fellowship hall and
break our piñata!!! THE LORD'S PRAYER
The members of Bright Hope Laurel wish to invite you to join with us this year as we invite “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on
Mary, Joseph, and the Baby into our house of worship and once more reflect on the greatest earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we
forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For
gift ever given: Emmanuel (God with us).
Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”


O Holy Night
“God all-powerful, grant that we may rid ourselves of the works of darkness, and that
(We will be using The Celebration Hymnal & The United Methodist Hymnal)
we may invest ourselves with the weapons of light in this life to which your Son, Jesus
Christ, with great humility came to visit us; so that in the final day, when he returns in
majestic glory to judge the living and the dead, we shall rise to eternal life through Jesus *“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” (vv. 1 & 4)
Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.” The Celebration Hymnal #245

THE READING OF GOD’S WORD Rich Ashley Leader: Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and
open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.
Luke 1:26-38
(Rev. 3:20).
(Pew Bible, p. 53)
Mary Did You Know?
Journey to the First Door
Joseph: In the name of God, we beg: will you let us enter? We are
*SONGS OF PRAISE AND WORSHIP tired and we are cold. May we please have shelter?
“Away in a Manger” #262
“What Child Is This” #281 People Inside Sanctuary: You look dirty and you smell. Will you
please keep moving. For your kind there is no place, for our inn
God’s people hear and respond to the Word “O Little Town of Bethlehem” (vv. 1 & 2)
The Celebration Hymnal #250
Luke 2:1-20
(Pew Bible, pp. 54-55) Journey to the Second Door
MEDITATION Rev. Bruce E Johnson Mary: It is not by our own choice that today we travel. But the em-
Giving the Perfect Gift peror has said that all must be counted.
*The most fitting of gifts reflect a double purpose …
1. It reflects the affection of the person sending the gift People Inside Sanctuary: For your reasons we care not, every
2. It suits the needs of the person receiving the gift room is taken. Can’t you see the place is full? You are bad for
*How do we choose what gifts we give?
“Love Came Down at Christmas” (v. 1)
1. We choose gifts that show Christ’s love The United Methodist Hymnal #242
2. We choose gifts which attend to the needs of our sisters and broth-
ers in Christ
Leader: He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did Journey to the Third Door
not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to Joseph and Mary: Will the child be born tonight out on a street corner? Can’t
all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God. you find a place for him? Do you have no pity?
(John 1:10, 12)

People Inside Sanctuary: Oh, my goodness, do come in. You can use
Leader: Who are the children of God? the manger. For the rooms that we do have are for a rich trav’ler.

Joseph and Mary: All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. (While Joseph, Mary, and the children enter, we stand and sing Gentle Mary
(Romans 8:14) [Tune of Good King Wenceslas]

People Inside Sanctuary: To what does the Spirit of God guide us? Gentle Mary laid her child
Lowly in a manger;
Leader: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and There he lay, the undefiled,
with all your mind. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37, 39) To the world a stranger.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, Such a babe in such a place,
and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23a)
Can he be the Savior?
Ask the saved of all the race,
People Inside Sanctuary: How do we know we love the Lord and have
faith? Who have found his favor.


Leader: What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have
works. Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you Leaders: We light this candle as a symbol of Christ the Way:
says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet do not supply their bodily the Way of Hope,
needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
The Way of Peace,
(James 2:14-17)
The Way of Love,
and The Way of Joy.
“O Come, All Ye Faithful ” (vv. 1)
The Celebration Hymnal #249 May the word sent from God through the prophets lead us to the way of salvation.
People: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. Come into our hearts as we
praise Your Name!


“How Great Our Joy!” (vv. 1, 2, & 4) #269
“Joy to the World!” #270
“Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” #271