Well-established fact: I adore music. It is my primary mode of worship, and it makes my life happy.
I also really like designing devotionals and programs and special worship services. This particular program hit me upside the brain one day, and I had to get out of the shower to write it all down immediately. (I’m thinking of getting one of those surveyor’s tablets with the write-in-the-rain paper. It could be quite useful.)
I knew I was to use several hymns that are not traditionally “Christmas” songs, but which communicate beautiful messages of the Savior. I knew that Mary and Joseph had a duet, that there was a lullaby at the very end, and that the entire congregation would sing a grand testimony together with the choir, just before a benediction. I knew the narration needed to be scripture, with only a little extra. It was all there, just waiting to be combined into an uplifting celebration.
So here’s a Christmas Eve (or even Christmas Eve Eve) devotional service, totally free to share and use (just please keep my copyright notes intact). The overall PDF file contains notes for the director, the script, and the music arrangements, all together, so it make take a few minutes to load.
All the musical selections are taken from the standard LDS hymnal , with one number from the children’s songbook. This allows for maximum congregational participation, and speedy devotional preparation, as many choir members will be familiar with the majority of the pieces. You may download music from LDS.org (go to Resources, Music, and launch the Interactive Music Player.)
I have written a few special arrangements, variations, and descants that are inspired by historical arrangements and harmonies; sheet music is provided in this packet, and is licensed to be photocopied for choir use. Only hymns that are licensed for incidental, non-commercial use have been selected for this devotional.
I have also included a printable program; combine it with Christ-centered art of your choice. If budget allows, consider having the program printed on good gloss cover stock, with the image in full color, and the text in black-and-white on the matte reverse. This allows the program to be framed and displayed in congregants’ homes for the Christmas season and beyond.
Ideally, this devotional should be shared in the evening; there is the unique feature of a postlude hymn, sung as a lullaby from the choir to the congregation, and to send everyone home in the silent, peaceful night, anticipating the joyous celebration of Christ’s birth in the morning… well, it’s just really cool. I dare you to sing the last number without getting a bit verklempt.
It’s Thanksgiving Day. I’m thankful. We are all so, so very blessed.
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