Preparing Kids for Christmas: A Candlelight Prayer

 In Liturgical Calendar, Prayer and Scripture

The last days in class before Christmas can be hectic. Use this prayer service to spend some quiet time with your students. Create a peaceful atmosphere by turning down the lights the classroom and lighting all four candles on the Advent wreath. If possible, have a battery-operated candle at each desk or table. Display the Nativity scene in a prominent place, lit by a candle. (Select a volunteer to place the figure of the baby Jesus in the manger at the time noted in the prayer service.) For added solemnity, you may want to set up a lectern with a small reading lamp for the Scripture readings.  

Print copies for your classroom so students can follow the words of the hymns, Scripture readings, and responses.  

If you use a recording for the Christmas carols, you might ask the students to sing along. Or, if they enjoy singing, they could sing the carols without added help.  


A Christmas Candlelight Prayer Service  


Opening Song: “O Little Town of Bethlehem” 

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie, 

Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, the silent stars go by. 

Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light: 

The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight. 


For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above. 

While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love. 

O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth! 

And praises sing to God the King, And peace to all on earth.  


Reader 1: A reading from the Book of Isaiah (11:6): 

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, 

and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat; 

The calf and the young lion shall browse together, 

with a little child to guide them. 

 The Word of the Lord. 

All: Thanks be to God.  

Reader: Let us pray. God, show us the way to peace in the world. Show us how to follow your Son Jesus and to love one another. We ask this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  

All: Amen.  

Reader 2: A reading from the Book of Isaiah (7:14): 

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign; the young woman, pregnant and about to bear a son, shall name him Emmanuel. 

The Word of the Lord.  

All: Thanks be to God.  

Reader: Let us pray. God, help us to know that Jesus is our Emmanuel, our God who is with us always. Help us to realize that Jesus loves and cares for each one of us. We ask this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  

All: Amen.  

The designated student places the figure of the baby Jesus in the manger. 

Reader 3: A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke (2:11–14): 

“For today in the City of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: 

“Glory to God in the highest 

and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 

The Word of the Lord.  

All:  Thanks be to God. 

Reader: Let us pray. God, thank you for sending your Son Jesus Christ to us. Help us to listen to his words and to follow his way of love. Help us to live our lives in loving service so that when we complete our time on earth, we may join him in his Kingdom, where he lives and reigns forever.  

All: Amen.  


Leader: Let us take a moment to pray quietly in our hearts. Let us pray for a good Christmas for our families and friends. Let us pray for those who are sick, suffering, or lonely. Let us pray for one another, for whatever needs we may have. If you would like to mention a petition, please do so now. We will respond, “Lord, hear our prayer.”  


Let us close our time of prayer with a Christmas carol.  


Closing Song: “Silent Night” 

Silent night, holy night, 

All is calm, all is bright 

Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child, 

Holy Infant so tender and mild. 

Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.  


Silent night, holy night, 

Shepherds quake at the sight. 

Radiance beams from thy holy face 

With the dawn of redeeming grace.  

Jesus, Lord at thy birth, 

Jesus, Lord at thy birth.  




(Scripture texts used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, D.C. All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owners.) 

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