Exterior detail shot of Catonsville Presbyterian Church, showing roofline, decorative window, and steeple.


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Family Christmas Eve Service

  • Date: Sunday, December 24, 2023
  • Time: 4:00pm5:00pm
  • Location: Sanctuary

Order of Worship

December 24, 2023 at 4 p.m.

Stream on YouTube

Download Full Bulletin (PDF)

News and Announcements

Music of the Season

  • We Three Kings
    Deacon Flis and Wendy Johnston, piano
  • Sleigh Ride
    David Walther, piano
  • It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
    Katie Walther, piano
  • O Holy Night
    Rosie Symms, violin, and Charre Symms, piano

*Call to Worship

*Hymn #121, “O Little Town of Bethlehem”

1. O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
the everlasting light;
the hopes and fears of all the years
are met in thee tonight.

2. For Christ is born of Mary
and, gathered all above,
while mortals sleep, the angels keep
their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars, together
proclaim the holy birth,
and praises sing to God the king,
and peace to all on earth.

3. How silently, how silently,
the wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him, still
the dear Christ enters in.

4. O holy child of Bethlehem,
descend to us, we pray;
cast out our sin and enter in;
be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us; abide with us,
our Lord Emmanuel!

Welcome and Announcements

The Christmas Story: Mary’s song

Adapted from Daphna Flegal

Song (Tune: London Bridge)

Leader: Mary, God has chosen you, chosen you, chosen you.
Mary, God has chosen you, so sing your praise to God.

All: Mary, God has chosen you, chosen you, chosen you.
Mary, God has chosen you, so sing your praise to God. 

Song (Tune: Did You Ever See a Lassie?)

Leader: You will name the baby Jesus, an angel told Joseph.
You will name the baby Jesus, for he is God’s son.

All: You will name the baby Jesus, an angel told Joseph.
You will name the baby Jesus, for he is God’s son.

Song (Tune: The Farmer in the Dell)

Leader: The donkey walked like this, the donkey walked like this,
On the way to Bethlehem, the donkey walked like this.

All: The donkey walked like this, the donkey walked like this,
On the way to Bethlehem, the donkey walked like this.

Hymn: “Away in a Manager”

Children’s Choir:
1. Away in a manger, no crib for his bed,
the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay,
the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

2. The cattle are lowing; the poor baby wakes,
but little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus; look down from the sky,
and stay by my side until morning is nigh.

3. Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask thee to stay
close by me forever and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
and fit us for heaven to live with thee there.

Hymn: “The First Nowell”

The first Nowell the angel did say
was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay,
in fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
on a cold winter’s night that was so deep.

Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Nowell,
Born is the King of Israel.

Hymn: “What Child is This?”

What child is this, who, laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet while shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste to bring him laud, the babe, the son of Mary! 

Leader: “What??”
All: “What??”

Leader: “What are you saying??”
All: “What are you saying??”

Children are invited to come forward as the congregation sings. Parents may wish to accompany very young children.

Hymn: “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”

Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn king.
Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations, rise; join the triumph of the skies;
With the-angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn king!”

Hymn: “O Come, All Ye Faithful”

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!

Unison Prayer

Living God on this holy night we gather –
To stand with shepherds, amazed at your glory;
To sing with angels, rejoicing in your work
To wait with Joseph, trusting in your promise;
To sit with Mary, cradling your love.
May the good news of this night inspire us to tell the world of our great joy;
For to us is born a Savior, the Messiah, the Lord.
Glory and praise to you forever! Amen.

Children return to their seats as the congregation sings hymn #136, “Go, Tell it on the Mountain”

Hymn #136: “Go, Tell it on the Mountain”

Go, tell it on the mountain,
over the hills and everywhere;
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 lowly manger
the humble Christ was born,
and God sent us salvation
that blessed Christmas morn. (Refrain)

Call To Offering

Christmas Joy Offering

This evening’s offering will be given to the Christmas Joy Offering of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). This offering has been a cherished Presbyterian tradition since the 1930s. The offering is equally distributed between the denomination’s Assistance Program for church workers and colleges that equip communities of color.

In recognition of our commitment to God and our gratitude for all God
has given to us, we present our gifts, our offerings, and our tithes. In response to this good news of great joy, we offer songs of praise, our offerings, these gifts, our lives.


Prayer of Dedication

Musical Offering: “Sing We Now of Christmas,” Arr. Mark Patterson

Sing we now of Christmas, Noel sing we here.
Hear our grateful praises, to the Child so dear.
Sing we Noel, the King is born, Noel!
Sing we now of Christmas, sing we all Noel!

Angels called to shepherds, “Leave your flocks at rest;
Journey to the manger, find the Child so blest.”
Sing we Noel, the King is born, Noel!
Sing we now of Christmas, sing we all Noel!

Come sing! Sing we all Noel!

Lighting of the Christ Candle

Hymn #122: “Silent Night”

1. Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
’round yon virgin mother and child!
Holy infant, so tender and mild,
sleep in heavenly peace,
sleep in heavenly peace.

2. Silent night! Holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar,
heav’nly hosts sing, “Alleluia!
Christ the Savior is born!
Christ the Savior is born!”

3. Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, love’s pure light
radiant beams from Thy holy face
with the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth!
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth!

4. Silent night! Holy night!
Wondrous star, lend thy light;
with the angels let us sing
“Alleluia” to our King:
“Christ the Savior is born!
Christ the Savior is born.”

Scripture: Luke 2:8-20

Now in that same region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for see, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and 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 heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them, and Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told them.

Prayers of the People and the Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors;
and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom and the power
and the glory, forever. Amen.

*Hymn #134: “Joy to the World”


*Passing of the Peace


Bring a Torch, setting by Wayne Wold


Permission to podcast/stream the music in this service obtained from One License with license #A-734388; CCLI Copyright License B 20481088 + Streaming License B 481071

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