Christmas Eve Candlelight Service Outline

Candlelight Service
Download an outline for a candlelight service.

For many people, the highlight of the Christmas season is attending a Christmas Eve candlelight service. If you're responsible for planning a candlelight service, creating an outline can help you make the event a success. The following outline and tips can give you a better perspective of the event, allow you to budget your expenses and time and help keep everything on track.

Customizable Outline

A Christmas Eve candlelight service usually includes choir performances, congregational Christmas carols, scripture readings, prayers and possibly a short sermon or special speaker. The outline below gives you a great starting point and can be tailored to your church's specific needs, traditions and time contstraints.

Although this outline suggests lighting the congregation's candles at the end of the service, they may be lit earlier. Some prefer to have candles lit for the entire service while others wait until closer to the end.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
Event Time Details (Reader or Performer's Name; Scripture/Music/Poetry Selection) Supplies Needed Budget
Prelude (Instrumental) into dimly lit room/Hand out candles
Welcome and Opening Prayer
Lighting of Advent Candles
Congregation Christmas Carol
Scripture Reading
Choir Performance, Solo Music or Poetry Reading
Scripture Reading
Congregation Christmas Carol
Sermon, Homily or Speaker

Optional Blue Christmas Prayer and Lighting of blue candle

Scripture Reading
Congregation Christmas Carol
Optional Communion with Solo, Choir or Instrumental Music
Choir Performance or Solo Music and Offering
Ushers light Congregation Candles/Instrumental Music
Congregation Christmas Carol
Postlude (Instrumental)

Recommended Songs and Scripture Readings

With so many songs and scripture readings to choose from, it can be challenging to determine which ones to feature in your service. Here are some suggestions -- your church's choir or music director can also add valuable input.

Congregational Christmas Carols

  • O Come All Ye Faithful
  • O Little Town of Bethlehem
  • Hark the Herald Angles Sing
  • Joy to the World
  • Silent Night (This song is a good choice to sing as the final congregation carol after the candles are lit.)

Solo Performances

Solo performances really add depth and emotion to your service. The following songs are perfect for solo musicians:

  • O Holy Night
  • Mary, Did You Know?
  • Ave Maria
  • What Child is This?
  • O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Scripture Readings

For your service, you'll want to choose scripture readings that relate to the meaning of the season -- the birth of Christ. Following are some options to consider -- you can read the entire chapter or choose specific versus that relate to and flow with your song choices:

  • Isaiah 9
  • Luke 2
  • Matthew 1
  • John 3:16

An Inspiring Celebration

A Christmas Eve candlelight service is a wonderful way to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. It provides time to reflect and an inspirational and uplifting escape from the hustle and bustle of the season. No matter what elements you decide to include in the service, make sure things run smoothly by planning ahead and creating a detailed outline.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service Outline