Abstract and unfocused multicolored lights.

Christmas Eve is December 24, and is frequently celebrated in an evening service. It often includes “lessons and carols” and sometimes a story that conveys the spirit of Christmas. Some Unitarian Universalist congregations include a candle-lighting ritual in the service, in which the church lights are dimmed and people pass a flame from candle to candle until everyone is holding a lit candle.

Unlike many Christian faiths, Unitarian Universalists rarely hold special services on Christmas Day, December 25.

Faith Without Borders

For everything there is a season—a time to die and a time to be born. With the arrival of winter’s low dark sky, communities around the world look to the miracle of light as a sign of rebirth and a source of hope. We celebrate the promise of new life and recommit ourselves to the protection of everyone’s right to his or her own radiant humanity.

Celebrating the winter holidays, thus, is an excellent opportunity for Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations to express their commitment to our Sixth Principle: We covenant to affirm and promote the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all. See Sixth Principle Resources for winter holidays.

Chalice within a wreath of holly.

From Tapestry of Faith Curricula

Unitarian Universalist Perspectives

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  • The innkeeper isn’t part of most Nativity sets. No one sings carols about innkeepers. There don’t seem to be any paintings that include them. But we can imagine the scene: Bethlehem is crowded with people coming home for the census. It’s late at night when the innkeeper responds to a knock on...
    Reading | By Anne Dilenschneider | January 2, 2019 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: 1st Principle (Worth & Dignity), 2nd Principle (Justice, Equity, & Compassion), Abundance, Anti-Oppression, Christianity, Christmas Eve / Christmas, Compassion, Discernment, Empathy, Hospitality, Inclusion, Judaism, Kindness, Living Our Faith, Responsibility, WorshipWeb
  • We gather together on this Christmas Eve as fellow sojourners looking for light, for hope, for peace, and for love. We gather as people from many backgrounds, many faiths, many cultures, and many spiritual paths. But as we light this chalice, we gather as one body looking to the Nativity for its...
    Chalice Lighting | By Dan Lambert | December 20, 2018 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: 2nd Principle (Justice, Equity, & Compassion), 3rd Principle (Acceptance & Spiritual Growth), Christianity, Christmas Eve / Christmas
  • In real life, sometimes grief looms largest in December. Sometimes there's one too many dress-ups and the gold tulle makes your legs itch. “I just needed it to stop for a minute. Next time I will take calm breaths.”
    Reflection | By Misha Sanders | December 19, 2018 | From Braver/Wiser
    Tagged as: Advent, Children, Christmas Eve / Christmas, Direct Experience, Limitations, Self-Care, Self-Respect
  • There's nothing simple about the holidays. Joy can feel empty when it is compulsory. The promise of liberation is hard fought and well earned.
    Reflection | By Alex Haider-Winnett | December 12, 2018 | From Braver/Wiser
    Tagged as: Christmas Eve / Christmas, Direct Experience, Simplicity, Summer Solstice, Winter
  • Christmas is a risk for us to take. Shall we allow ourselves to be touched by sentiment? Awakened by song and story? Drawn into festivities, when our joy depends upon the goodwill of others? Dare we risk the disappointment of hopes raised high and excited expectations? May we have the courage to...
    Quote | By Rexford J. Styzens | December 8, 2018 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: Christmas Eve / Christmas, Hope, Tradition, Vulnerability
  • Each week until Christmas, we light a new candle on the Advent wreath, a circle of evergreens.
    Ritual | By Megan Visser | November 13, 2018 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: Advent, Christianity, Christmas Eve / Christmas, Hope, Peace
  • Note: The Minister or Director of Education narrates this pageant with help from two youth leaders and three “guest stars.” The entire congregation participates as prompted. Congregants remain in their seats but there are three opportunities for children to join the leaders on the chancel. No...
    Script | By Norman Allen | October 6, 2018 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: Christianity, Christmas Eve / Christmas, Tradition, Unitarian Universalism
  • Did you notice that in the story of Christmas there are lots of journeys? Mary and Joseph have to go on a journey. The shepherds have to go on a journey. And those angels must have gone on a journey to find the shepherds....
    Script | By Kathy Schmitz | October 5, 2018 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: Children, Christmas Eve / Christmas, Direct Experience, Generations, Imagination, Journey, Relationships
  • I like to think that after many years of living together, our family has developed a certain sense of equilibrium, a certain ease with each other. From time to time, of course, differences arise and sometimes, and, occasionally, an act of outright rebellion....
    Reading | By Carl Scovel | September 4, 2018 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: 2nd Principle (Justice, Equity, & Compassion), Christianity, Christmas Eve / Christmas, Direct Experience, Power
  • Calling all who cannot wait any longer for joy, for hope and some good news (even a little). The time has come, the waiting is over....
    Opening | By Gretchen Haley | September 4, 2018 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: 4th Principle (Truth & Meaning), Christianity, Christmas Eve / Christmas
  • In the days ahead, many of us will gather with family and friends, people with whom we may have long and complicated relationships. It helps to prepare. Let us enter into the spirit of prayer or meditation. Dear Spirit, Great Mystery that has blessed us with Life, help us to feel grateful....
    Prayer | By Susanne Intriligator | June 18, 2018 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: Brokenness, Challenge, Christmas Eve / Christmas, Direct Experience, Family, Father's Day, Forgiveness, Healing, Humanism, Mother's Day, Searching, Secular, Thanksgiving, Tradition
  • Holy One, Emmanuel, You are with us and we with You, now on the eve of a birth like no other, and a birth exactly like all others. We ponder the dreams and foretelling—royalty, savior, the light of the world. Revolution and possibility wrapped in helplessness and vulnerability. Divine love...
    Prayer | By Lisa Doege | January 23, 2018 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: Awe, Birth, Christianity, Christmas Eve / Christmas, Joy, Redemption
  • Once upon a time, a baby was born. Even before that baby was born, there were people waiting and wishing and hoping for that baby. The people who were waiting and wishing and hoping for that baby didn’t know exactly what that baby would be like. And so, they wondered: Would the baby have a smile...
    Time for All Ages | By Gwen Matthews | January 23, 2018 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: Advent, Awe, Child Dedication, Children, Christmas Eve / Christmas, Family, Fathers, Generations, Humanism, Mothers, Parents, Secular, Tradition
  • We remember the Magi, Observers of stars, Evidence-based seekers Who found their way to kneel before a baby. May we, too, kneel before life’s intricate mysteries Following the path of science-based searchers for truth We remember Mary, Birth-mother of a revolutionary prophet The fetus in her womb...
    Prayer | By Rebecca Ann Parker | December 18, 2017 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: Anti-Oppression, Christmas Eve / Christmas, Integrity, Living Our Faith, Multiculturalism, Prophetic Words & Deeds, Unitarian Universalism, Vulnerability
  • It’s been said that it’s easier to untangle a string of lights if you plug them in; it’s no different for people. Humans, just like strings of lights, are wired for connection.
    Reflection | By Erin Powers | December 13, 2017 | From Braver/Wiser
    Tagged as: Advent, Awe, Christmas Eve / Christmas, Connections, Direct Experience, Humanism, Mystery, Relationships, Secular, Trust, Vulnerability, Wholeness
  • We lean in expectation into all that is being born in us at this Holy time of the year...
    Ritual | By Erika Hewitt | December 2, 2017 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: Advent, Brokenness, Christianity, Christmas Eve / Christmas, Faith, Spiritual Practice, Tradition, Transcendence, Wholeness
  • An adequate Christmas would have you calm and open, taking it in, accepting whatever is. Slow it all down like you might be, in some way, attuned to the pace of the Eternal. If you need, you can fake it at first.
    Reflection | By Jake Morrill | November 29, 2017 | From Braver/Wiser
    Tagged as: 4th Principle (Truth & Meaning), Advent, Balance, Challenge, Choice, Christmas Eve / Christmas, Courage, Direct Experience, Family, God, Self-Care, Spiritual Practice, Spirituality, Thanksgiving, Winter Solstice / Yule
  • Week by week, the candles remind us that fear and hopelessness recede as more warmth enters the world.
    Ritual | By Erika Hewitt | November 26, 2017 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: Advent, Beginnings, Christianity, Christmas Eve / Christmas, Ending, Faith, Hope, Letting Go, Patience, Spiritual Practice
  • “If I ask you a question, do you promise to tell me the truth?" For future reference, if a child asks you this question at Christmas time, EVADE.
    Reflection | By Becky Brooks | October 18, 2017 | From Braver/Wiser
    Tagged as: Awe, Children, Christmas Eve / Christmas, Direct Experience, Doubt, Faith, Humanism, Relationships, Searching, Secular, Unitarian Universalism, Wonder
  • O God, who moves among the stars of the cold clear sky, whose voice whispers in the silence of falling snow, whose silence stills our hearts and leaves us wondering and waiting. Lord, We are seeking Christmas, searching in this season for a hidden door to a forgotten room in the house of our very...
    Prayer | By Tom Schade | January 18, 2017 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: Awe, Christianity, Christmas Eve / Christmas, Friendship, God, Relationships, Searching