Christmas Eve 2008 – A Festival of Trees

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Christmas Eve 2008

A Festival of Trees

All Children – Processional: “O Come, Little Children”
1) (children only) O come little children, O come, one and all
O come to the cradle in Bethlehem’s stall
Come see what has happened this holiest of nights
Come gaze on the gift from the Father of Might.
Verses 2 and 3 sung by choir
4) (children and cong.) O come little children, o come, one and all
O come to the cradle in Bethlehem’s stall
Come see what has happened this holiest of nights
Come gaze on the gift from the Father of Might.

Narrator: Tonight we present to you a festival of trees. We will consider 5 different trees; The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the Branch from the stump of Jesse, our traditional symbol of the Christmas tree, the Tree of the Cross, and finally, the Tree of Life. Our look at these trees will take us from the fall into sin, and therefore the need for a Savior, to the family tree from which that Savior would come, to the fulfillment of the promised Savior, and then to the ultimate sacrifice of our Savior on the cross. Finally, it will bring us to what all Christians look forward to as a result of that sacrifice, namely, eternal life in heaven.

Song by Pre-school and K: “As Each Happy Christmas”

Pre-school and K recitation:
On this happy Christmas Eve, Praise to God our Father –
For Your gift, our Savior dear, Happy Birthday Jesus!

Angels came to tell the news, to the lowly shepherds –
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!” Happy Birthday Jesus!

We’re so happy you were born, our best friend and Savior –
Praise and thanks we sing to You – Happy Birthday Jesus!
(Kindergartners sit, pre-schoolers return to their parents)

Congregational Hymn: WS 707 “On Christmas Night all Christians Sing”
(5th and 6th gr. stands following hymn)

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
Narrator: The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the first tree we present tonight. In all of God’s beautiful, perfect creation, this was the one tree that Adam and Eve were commanded not to eat from as a test of their love and obedience. In Genesis 2:17, God told Adam; “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” We know from scripture Adam and Eve did fall into temptation, and that they did eat of the tree that God had forbidden. This fall into sin set into motion God’s plan for our salvation.

Recitations Grades 5-6:
Joci/Taylor – Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…

Markus – Romans 6: 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Bailey/Bryan – Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

Aben/Riley – Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.

Ethan/Sam – 1 John 3:8 For this purpose the Son of Man was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
(5th and 6th gr. joined by 1st – 8th)

Song by grades 1-8: “Christmas Medley”
1) Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let ev-‘ry heart prepare Him room
And heav’n and nature sing, And heav’n and nature sing, And heav’n, and heav’n
and nature sing.

3) O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, O come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem. Come, and behold Him, born the King of Angels! O come let us adore Him, o come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him…Christ the Lord.

2) For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, Unto us a Son is given. (Repeat)
And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

4) Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy, repeat the sounding joy Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.
(7th and 8th grade remain standing)

The Branch from the Trunk of Jesse
Narrator: Jesse who was of the tribe of Judah, lived in the little town of Bethlehem. He had eight sons, the youngest of whom was David. Many of the kings of Judah were powerful rulers who became very corrupt over the years. Finally Judah ended up in exile in Babylon. Even so, it was out of this seemingly dead family tree that a fresh twig would grow. Isaiah 11:1 says “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” This is a prophecy of the Lord Jesus Christ, the true Messiah, Who would be the hope of His people.

Recitations grades 7-8:
Hans – Micah 5:2 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the one to be ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Lauren B. – Jeremiah 23:5 “Behold the days are coming”, says the Lord, “that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.

Jake – Revelation 5:5a “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David has prevailed…”

Zachary G. – Isaiah 53:2a For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground.

Michael L. – Revelation 22:16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”

(K-6th gr. joins 7th/8th)
Hymn by grades K-8: “Who is This Child?”
(K-3) Away in a manger, no crib for a bed
The little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head.
The stars in the sky look down where He lay,
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.
(4-8) Who is this Child? Who can it be?
The little Child in the manger asleep peacefully.
The angels sing, Good news they bring:
The Child asleep in the hay will one day be a King.

(all children sit)
OFFERING/Choir Song

(1st-4th gr. stand)
The Traditional Christmas Tree
Narrator: The modern day Christmas tree is a popular part of the Christian’s Christmas. Traditionally, there are many different explanations of the origin and meaning of the Christmas tree. Seeing its symbolism of pointing heavenward, Martin Luther is said to have brought one home for his family. Additionally, for the Christian it is a reminder of the ever-living Gospel and also of everlasting life as seen in the EVER-GREEN. The focus of the Gospel is the Lord Jesus Christ whose birth we celebrate each Christmas, the report of which we joyfully hear from the Gospel of Luke. The message of our Savior’s birth is old but always new–always alive with the Spirit through whom our heart is comforted.

Recitations grades 1-4:
Chris B., Martin, Jack, Alec, Brynn, Jillian, Sam –
Luke 2: 1-7
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Jonathan, Emma O., Austin, Dannie, Nikole, Linsey, Jadyn, Brandon –
Luke 2: 8-14
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Zachary T., Lauren, Alex S., Nathan, Ravyn, Isaiah, Maya –
Luke 2: 15-20
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Hymn by grades 1-4: WS 706 “Go Tell it on the Mountain”

Refrain: Go tell it on the mountain, Over the hills and ev’rywhere; Go tell it on the mountain That Jesus Christ is born!

1) While shepherds kept their watching o’er silent flocks by night, Behold, throughout the heavens there shone a holy light. (Refrain)

2) The shepherds feared and trembled when lo, above the earth
Rang out the angel chorus that hailed our Savior’s birth.
(Refrain)

3) Down in a lonely manger the humble Christ was born;
And God sent us salvation that blessed Christmas morn.
(Refrain)

(1st-4th sit, 7th/8th stands)
The Tree of the Cross
Grades 7-8 group recitation: Had Jesus simply been born of a virgin, our salvation still would not be secured. To be our Substitute, Jesus needed to live a perfect life and be sacrificed for our sins in order to save us. As we are reminded in a Lenten prayer… “Christ who on the tree of the cross didst give salvation unto mankind that, whence death arose, thence Life also might rise again…”

Recitations grades 7-8:
Jonah – Galatians 3:13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)

Abby – 1 Peter 1:18-19 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold…, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

Sarah – 2 Peter 2:24 Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness–by whose stripes you were healed.

Michael H. – 1 John 1:7b the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son cleanses us from all sin.
(7th and 8th gr. sit)

Congregational Hymn:

TLH 645 st 4,5: Behold, a Branch Is Growing Hymnary.org link

The Tree of Life
Narrator: In Revelation 2:7 we read: “To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” The Tree of Life in the Eden Paradise is a picture of heavenly blessedness. Those who by the grace of God overcome the forces of the devil will see and partake of the highest delights in Heaven. The everlasting life in heaven will be enjoyed by all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
May each of us who have celebrated Jesus’ birth hold fast to the faith whereby we “may have the right to the tree of life and may enter through the gates into the city.” (Revelation 22:14)

Choir Song

Lords Prayer/Benediction

TLH 646 : Silent Night Hymnary.org link

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.