Prelude: “O Holy Night” – Adolphe Adam
Opening Hymn: Joy to the World
Priest Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
People And blessed be his kingdom, now and for ever. Amen.
The Celebrant says
God of all power and love, we give thanks for your unfailing presence and the hope you provide in times of uncertainty and loss. Send your Holy Spirit to enkindle in us your holy fire. Revive us to live as Christ’s body in the world: a people who pray, worship, learn, break bread, share life, heal neighbors, bear good news, seek justice, rest and grow in the Spirit. Wherever and however we gather, unite us in common prayer and send us in common mission, that we and the whole creation might be restored and renewed, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect of the Day
Celebrant The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant Let us pray.
O God, you have caused this holy night to shine with the brightness of the true Light: Grant that we, who have known the mystery of that Light on earth, may also enjoy him perfectly in heaven; where with you and the Holy Spirit he lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Scripture Readings for Christmas Evening
A Reading from the prophet Isaiah 9:2-7
[In those days:] The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness−− on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Reader The Word of the Lord.
People Thanks be to God.
Hymn of Praise: 89 It Came Upon the Midnight
A Reading from the letter to Titus 2:11-14
[Dear brothers and sisters:] For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.
Reader The Word of the Lord.
People Thanks be to God.
Gospel hymn: 96 “Angels we have heard on high”
The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke 2:1-14
People Glory to you, Lord Christ.
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see– I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
Priest The Gospel of the Lord.
People Praise to you, Lord Christ.
Interlude: “O Little Town of Bethlehem” – Lewis H. Redner
Nicene Creed (Please stand if you are able.)
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Prayers of the People (Please stand if you are able.)
Holy Child of Bethlehem, angels proclaimed your birth to shepherds at their labors; we pray for all people in their daily life and work: for those called to shepherd your people, and for those who carry your love into the world. May we see your glory in the world around us and, like the shepherds, may we bear witness to your presence among us. Lord, in your mercy, People: Receive our prayer.
Holy Child of Bethlehem, born in a stable when your parents found no room in the inn, we pray for all who are without shelter this winter, for all who know financial poverty, and for all who respond and offer, even what little they have, to meet the needs of others, especially at this time for those unemployed due to COVID-19. Lord, in your mercy, People: Receive our prayer.
Holy Child of Bethlehem, welcomed into your mother’s loving arms, we pray for all who are lost and alone and have no arms to hold them; for those who are sick or in need and depend upon loving arms to care for them, for those whose arms are now empty and mourn loved ones gone due to COVID-19 or any other cause, and for those who are no longer with us but have been welcomed into your loving arms. Lord, in your mercy, People: Receive our prayer.
Holy Child of Bethlehem, a refugee in Egypt, whom Herod sought to kill, we pray for all who live with danger, for all undocumented human beings, who are persecuted in our country and around the world, and for all who are far from their homes. Lord, in your mercy, People; Receive our prayer.
Holy Child of Bethlehem, in you God was pleased to dwell, help us, we pray, to see the divine image in people everywhere, and to honor the divine image in ourselves. Forgive us where we have sinned, strengthen us where we are weak, heal us where we are blind. Lord, in your mercy, People: Receive our prayer.
Let us now pray for our own needs and the needs of others… _____ . Lord in your mercy, People: Receive our prayer.
Holy Child of Bethlehem, you were born into our world, that we might be reborn into eternal life. May we daily live as children of God through your love, as you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer:
And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Spiritual Communion Prayer
My dear and beloved Jesus, I believe You are present at the table with us as we gather as a community of faith, and I would have loved to be next to you today, but due to this pandemic I cannot. I love You above all things, with my whole heart, and I desire to receive You into my heart. Come to me, I am open to receive You. Since I cannot at this moment be gathered at the table to receive You sacramentally, please come to me spiritually, as if I would be present in church. I embrace You as I know You are already here with me. I know nothing can separate me from You and your love. Amen.
Postcommunion Prayer (EOW1) (Enriching Our Worship 1)
Let us pray.
All: Loving God, we give you thanks for restoring us in your image and nourishing us with spiritual food in the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood. Now send us forth a people, forgiven, healed, renewed; that we may proclaim your love to the world and continue in the risen life of Christ our Savior. Amen.
Closing Hymn: Silent night
Postlude: Two Ancient Carols: “Glory Be to God in Heaven” and “Angels and Shepherds”