Many years ago, I shared with you our family’s Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. This year, I’m pleased to offer you an UPDATED VERSION with a new cover and color scheme and a slight change to the order to make it flow better!
Year after year, this candlelight vigil has been an important part of our Christmas Eve. It is my children’s favorite Christmas tradition – mine too! It reminds me of the Christmas Eves of my childhood. We would walk the 2 blocks from home to the church, huddling into a darkened sanctuary, hanging onto white unlit candles during Scripture readings and Christmas hymns, anticipating the final hymn when the church would slowly begin to glow with beautiful candlelight. I would carry that glow home with me, feeling all warm and happy as we trudged the 2 blocks back home to celebrate with a Christmas Eve dinner, dessert, and my beloved Festive Hot Punch.
For many years after I married, we continued to travel to my home church for this special evening; however, as our family grew, the tradition became one filled with anxiety, rather than one filled with beauty. I spent the first half of the service trying to keep the children from eating their candles and the second half trying to keep them from burning themselves. All this while sitting in a church pew longer than my arms could reach. Finally, I decided we would have to give it up and stay home.
However, I wasn’t about to let go of the tradition and all its rich meaning. Instead, I exchanged the long church pew for my living room couch and wrote my own Christmas Eve service for our family to enjoy!
This free Christmas Eve Vigil includes instructions for use, plus print-friendly pages. I recommend stocking up on white taper candles – these short candles are best – and using drip protectors to keep things tidy. If you are using this with small children, you might even want to invest in LED candles.
Another fun extra we will be adding this year is a set of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. We have the oils, but I think this will be less messy and more tactile for the younger kids.
Remember, this doesn’t have to be perfect! Stay calm and focus your heart on Christ’s birth and the fact that He came to this earth for all these people surrounding you this blessed day! You are making memories, and someday your family will look back on this Christmas Eve tradition with awe and wonderment the way I do.
If you enjoyed this post, you should check out our Family Christmas Decorating Party!