A Service of Light

For Christmas or Epiphany

All the readings and music in this service intentionally focus on light; the service is appropriate for Christmas Eve, Christmas, or Epiphany. Multiple songs are listed; we encourage you to choose songs that would work best in your worship setting.




Opening Song
“O Come, All Ye Faithful” CH 249, PH 42, PsH 340, TH 208, WR 182
“Christians, Awake” PsH 350, TH 209
“Wake, Awake, for Night Is Flying” PsH 613, TH 317, WR 164

The First Candle

“Let there be light”

Reading: Genesis 1:1-3; Psalm 136:1-9

Sung Response
“Give Thanks to God, for Good Is He” PsH 182
“God Who Spoke in the Beginning” PsH 277
“Cantemos al Señor/O Sing unto the Lord” SNC 40, WR 33


The Second Candle

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light”

Reading: Luke 1:76-79; Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7

Confession of Sin
God of grace and truth, in Jesus Christ you came among us as light shining in the darkness. We confess that we have not always welcomed the light, or trusted good news to be good. We have closed our eyes to your glory in our midst, expecting little and hoping for even less. Forgive our doubt and renew our hope so that we may receive the fullness of your grace. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon
Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation.
Through Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Song of Praise
“Born in the Night, Mary’s Child” WR 194
“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” CH 277, PH 31, PsH 345, TH 203, WR 185
“How Bright Appears the Morning Star” PH 69, PsH 357, TH 515

The Third Candle

“The light of the glory of God”

Reading: Luke 2:8-14

Sung Response
“Angels from the Realms of Glory” CH 259, PH 22, PsH 354, TH 218, WR 189
“Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light” CH 264, PH 26, PsH 343, WR 202


“Breath of Heaven” (Mary’s Song), Amy Grant
“Christ Is the King and He Shall Reign” PsH 359
“Brightest and Best of the Stars” WR 235

The Fourth Candle

“The true light that gives light to everyone”

Reading: John 1:1-14


Sung Response
“O Little Town of Bethlehem” PH 44, TH 201, WR 180
“O Word of God Incarnate” CH 414, PH 327, PsH 279, TH 140
“This Is Your God/Meekness and Majesty” SNC 109

The Christ Candle

“You are the light of the world”

Reading: John 1:12; John 12:46; Matt. 5:14-16; Phil. 2:12-16

Song of Response
“Go, Tell It on the Mountain” CH 258, PH 29, PsH 356, SFL 131, TH 224, WR 218
“Bring Forth the Kingdom” SNC 123
“Arise, Your Light Has Come!” PH 411, WR 231

Benediction and Passing of the Peace

This order of service was created by the worship planning team at Grove Presbyterian Church, Aberdeen, Maryland. It was submitted by the choir director, Carlla Jones.

Bert Polman was a hymnologist, professor and chair of the music department at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. He passed away in July 2013. 

Reformed Worship 81 © September 2006, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.