For the first followers of Jesus, the home was the central gathering place for worship (Deut. 6:4â€“9, 1 Cor. 16:19, Col. 4:15). Friends and family gath- ered to read the scriptures, sing songs, reflect on the goodness of God, and share a meal. For the earliest followers of Jesus, worship began in the home.
A few times each year, we like to take the opportunity to get back to our roots. On Sunday, December 25th and January 1st, Ethos Church will not be gathering at the regular times for worship at the Cannery. Instead, Ethos Church will be meeting in hundreds of homes throughout Nashville and beyond.
In fact, wherever you are on December 25th and January 1st is where Ethos Church will be meeting.
We have provided a few ideas to give you some direction as you wor- ship at home. Feel free to use as many of these ideas as you would like. Our goal in this time is to help us love God and love people, and if these can help you do that, wonderful. If not, feel free to be creative and think about how to draw your family into loving God and people.
As you begin your time of family worship, we encourage you to find a place that is comfortable, where your family often gathers. Gather around the dinner table, turn off the lights and sit in front of Christmas tree, or sit on the couch in front of the fireplace. Just get comfortable.
WORSHIP IN SONG
We believe very few things prepare our hearts to encounter God like wor- shipping Him through song. We have provided a cd with several songs we recorded specifically for this worship time at home. You can sing along with these songs, listen and reflect on the words, or sing your own songs.
JESUS IS LIGHT
In this package, you should have received a candle. We invite you to turn off all the lights in the room. Sit in darkness for 1â€“2 minutes and then light the candle. If you are sitting near your Christmas tree, feel free to use your Chrismas tree lights as a substitue. By candle light, pass the communion bread and the cup. Have someone from your family read John 1:1â€“18. As you read the text and think about Jesus, eat the bread and drink the cup.
Here are a few questions to help you focus on Jesus with your family & friends.
1. What do you notice about the power of one little light in a dark room?
2. John tells us that Jesus is light that shines in the darkness. How have you seen Jesus shed light into some of the dark places in your life this year?
3. Where are you praying that Jesus will bring light in your life in the year to come?
4. On the night Jesus was born, angels appeared to shepherds in a field to announce that Jesus had arrived. With Jesusâ€™ arrival came the promise of good news and peace on earth to all people. How has the birth of Jesus (the light entering the darkness) been a source of good news and peace in your life?
FAMILY PRAYER TIME
Finally, we invite you to close your time of family worship in prayer. Start by taking a couple minutes to sit in silence.
Here are a few suggestions for your time of family prayer.
1. Begin by having each person, if they feel comfortable, give thanks to God for someone or something specific.
2. Have each person pray for someone they know who needs the love of Jesus.
3. End your time of prayer by thanking God for the great gift of sending Jesus.
As you go about the rest of your Christmas Day, look for specific ways in which you can be a light in the midst of your family and friends. Holidays can often be stressful. At times it is easier to survive the holidays than it is to enjoy the holidays on mission with Jesus.
Here are a few practical suggestions to help you make the most of your time with friends and family.
1. As you give people gifts, go the extra step and tell them how much you love and care for them.
2. As you receive gifts, take a few minutes to just think about the great gift that God has given you in Jesus.
3. As you enjoy the glow from the Christmas lights, pause to reflect on Jesus being the light that came into the darkness of our world. You might even choose to talk about this with your friends and family.
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