Additional Worship Resources
Christmas: Sharing the Gift of Friendship
This sermon outline and prayer, for use around Christmas, can be used as a stand-alone Friendship Sunday worship or as the culmination of a series of worship services leading up to Friendship Sunday. To be effective, every Friendship Sunday worship celebration should involve preparation and followup. See “Welcoming Guests Well” and “Developing an Intentional Follow-up Strategy.”
Target: Members are encouraged to invite their friends to the Christmas services at their church. God gives the greatest gift of friendship in His Son Jesus. This theme works very well on Christmas Eve, especially at a candlelight service.
Text: Luke 2:8-18 (NIV)
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields near by, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favour rests.” 15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
Theme Development: Use the announcement of the angel to the shepherds to emphasize:
- God’s first move toward us: God sought the shepherds out through special messengers, the angels. Today He seeks us out through modern day angels, our friends, to share the good news of Jesus with us.
- Jesus is good news of great joy for all people. Through Jesus, God seeks to renew the friendship we had with Him before humanity’s fall into sin.
- God’s gift of Jesus to the world is an act of supreme love for us, cf. John 3:16. Note: Do not assume that those in attendance are familiar with John 3:16.
- God’s favor rests upon all who believe in Jesus. Like the shepherds, your friend wants to share this good news with you. You were invited to this special service because he/she wants you to personally know the favor of God in your own life through friendship with Jesus.
Prayer of the Day:
Gracious God and Father, we give You thanks for the gift of friendship You give us through Your Son Jesus. As we celebrate His birth into our world, we pray that You empower the message of His coming, that those who hear it may come to know and believe that He is truly Your Son and their Savior. Grant that our friends may be blessed with this good news and especially grant that our friends who do not know Your favor in their lives may come to know it through our faithful witness and friendship in Christ. We ask this in the name of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus. Amen.
Also in this section:
Four Week Friendship Sunday series, Plan
Four Week Friendship Sunday series, week one
Week One Sermon
Week One Children's Message
Four Week Friendship Sunday series, week two
Week Two Sermon
Week Two Children's Message
Four Week Friendship Sunday series, week three
Week Three Sermon
Week Three Children's Message
Four Week Friendship Sunday series, week four
Week Four Sermon
Week Four Children's Message
Video & Other Sermon Illustration Resources
Child Invitation Card
Bulletin Inserts on Prayer
Sermon - Summer
Sermon - Start of Year
Sermon - Thanksgiving
Sermon - Easter
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