• Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

Christmas Eve Holy Communion


The Holy Eucharist with Christmas Communion

Christmas Day (RCL Selection I) December 24, 2020


Watch the Livestream at www.Facebook.com/StMattSav/Live/

Thursday, December 24, at 4:00 p.m. (or anytime afterward)





Preface


We at St. Matthew's Church in Savannah are unable to gather together in person due to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic. Under the guidance of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, the Vestry has decided to keep our church building closed to all in-person gatherings.


At 4:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, I will broadcast the following worship service using Facebook Live at www.Facebook.com/StMattSav. After the service concludes, you can re-watch it at any time.


Today's service is the Holy Eucharist with Holy Communion. The Rector and a Lay Eucharistic Minister will celebrate communion on-camera. When the time arrives to receive communion, you have two options:

  1. If you want to participate virtually from anywhere, I have included a special prayer for "spiritual communion." This is for use at home while watching the live stream or reading the prayers when you cannot actually consume the Body and Blood of Christ due to this pandemic and church closures.

  2. If you would like to receive Communion in person, you may come to the St. Matthew's parking lot between 5:00 and 6:00 PM on Christmas Eve. I will deliver Communion to you at your car window. Please wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth when you open your window.

May God protect you from this virus and protect the most vulnerable among us. May we be God’s hands and feet of compassion and service to all in need during this time. Amen.


Yours in Christ,

Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda




The Holy Eucharist: Rite II


The Christmas Service of Light



Hymn #25: O Gracious Light


1. O gracious Light, Lord Jesus Christ,

in you the Father’s glory shone.

Immortal, holy, blest is he,

and blest are you, his holy Son.


2. Now sunset comes, but light shines forth,

the lamps are lit to pierce the night.

Praise Father, Son, and Spirit: God

who dwells in the eternal light.


3. Worthy are you of endless praise,

O Son of God, Life-giving Lord;

wherefore you are through all the earth

and in the highest heaven adored.


Words: Greek, 3rd cent.; tr. F. Bland Tucker; para. of O Gracious Light [BCP, p. 112, 118]; Public Domain.

Music: The Eighth Tune, Thomas Tallis; Public Domain.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #05177. All rights reserved.



The Opening Sentence

[BCP, p. 109]


Light and peace, in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thanks be to God.



A Short Lesson of Scripture

[BCP, p. 108; John 1:1-5]


In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word was with God in the beginning. Everything came into being through the Word, and without the Word nothing came into being. What came into being through the Word was life, and the life was the light for all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.



The Prayer for Light

[BCP, p. 213]


Let us pray:

Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.



The Lighting of the Candles

[adapted from http://www.saltproject.org/ progressive-christian-blog/advent-candle-lighting-litanies]


Because injustice and despair threaten to overwhelm us,

We pray for hope.

(Light the first purple candle in the Advent wreath.)


Because so many swords have not yet been beaten into plowshares,

We pray for peace.

(Light the second purple candle in the Advent wreath.)


Because grief and loss weigh so heavily,

We pray for joy.

(Light the third rose candle in the Advent wreath.)


Because hatred is still so strong, and because people all over the world are suffering,

We pray for love.

(Light the fourth purple candle in the Advent wreath.)


God has come to us as a child. Christ is present in our world.

(Light the white Christ candle in the center of the Advent wreath.)


May the light and the fire from these candles burn away everything that is preventing the God of hope and peace and joy and love from being born among us. Brothers and sisters, be not afraid; even now the light of Christ is overwhelming the world!



The Word of God



Hymn #96: Angels We Have Heard on High


1 Angels we have heard on high,

Sweetly singing o’er the plains

And the mountains in reply,

Echoing their joyous strains.


Refrain:

Gloria in excelsis Deo,

Gloria in excelsis Deo.


2 Shepherds, why this jubilee?

Why these songs of happy cheer?

What great brightness did you see?

What glad tidings did you hear? [Refrain]


3 Come to Bethlehem, and see

Him whose birth the angels sing;

Come, adore on bended knee

Christ the Lord, the newborn King. [Refrain]


4 See him in a manger laid

Whom the angels praise above!

Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,

While we raise our hearts in love. [Refrain]


Words: French carol; tr. James Chadwick; Public Domain.

Music: Gloria, French carol; arr. Edward Shippen Barnes; Public Domain.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #84241. All rights reserved.


The Collect of the Day

[BCP, p. 357, 212]

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

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.


A Reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (9:2-7)

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.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God


Psalm 96

[BCP, p. 725]

Read responsively by half-verse (at the asterisk).

1 Sing to the Lord a new song; * sing to the Lord, all the whole earth.

2 Sing to the Lord and bless his Name; * proclaim the good news of his salvation from day to day.

3 Declare his glory among the nations * and his wonders among all peoples.

4 For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; * he is more to be feared than all gods.

5 As for all the gods of the nations, they are but idols; * but it is the Lord who made the heavens.

6 Oh, the majesty and magnificence of his presence! * Oh, the power and the splendor of his sanctuary!

7 Ascribe to the Lord, you families of the peoples; * ascribe to the Lord honor and power.

8 Ascribe to the Lord the honor due his Name; * bring offerings and come into his courts.

9 Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; * let the whole earth tremble before him.

10 Tell it out among the nations: "The Lord is King! * he has made the world so firm that it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity."

11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea thunder and all that is in it; * let the field be joyful and all that is therein.

12 Then shall all the trees of the wood shout for joy before the Lord when he comes, * when he comes to judge the earth.

13 He will judge the world with righteousness * and the peoples with his truth.


A Reading from the Letter to Titus (2:11-14)

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.


The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God


The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ According to St. Luke (2:1-20)

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!"

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us." So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Christ.



The Sermon:

“Hopes and Fears” by Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

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.

[The Hymnal 1982, #79)


We live in a society and in a world that is dominated by fear. We are constantly barraged with things we ought to worry about, things that endanger us, things that can harm us. Some of these are real fears worth attending to and some are exaggerated and blown out of proportion. This year, 2020, has taken that fear-driven side of our culture and pushed it to the extreme. Because in addition to the existing brew of genuine and overblown fears that our society produces, we are dealing with a new, invisible threat in the novel coronavirus.


This pandemic spread around the world at the beginning of the year and, by March, it led to a complete transformation of our daily lives. Most of us were compliant with all the changes for the first few weeks and even months. But as the summer wore on, many Americans grew tired of the upheaval, especially if they didn’t know anyone who contracted the virus or was killed by it. But this holiday season has reminded many of us that the fear of coronavirus is based in reality; it is well-founded. As of December 20, there are 17.6 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 315,000 deaths from this virus in the USA alone. It is wreaking havoc on our world and robbing us of people who we love.


So this Christmas feels like it leans more heavily on our fears than on our hopes. This Christmas it might be harder to feel hopeful; it might be bluer than usual because of who you cannot visit or who is no longer with us. But we are not alone in our fears; we do not have to conjure up hope out of thin air. For Christmas has always been a story about people living through fear and finding hope in God. God is with us in and through our fears, and God gives us hope for a brighter future.


Let’s begin with some of the fears our main characters experienced on the first Christmas. Joseph and Mary’s story begins not with their freedom and prosperity, but with them being bossed around and told what to do. Mary and Joseph are imperial subjects in the Roman Empire. Jesus’ birth is heavily influenced by the politics of Rome, which force the couple to travel to Joseph’s hometown of Bethlehem. They go there because of a census. Rome used the census to count non-citizens like Mary and Joseph so they could tax them heavily and potentially force the men to become soldiers in Rome’s constant wars. It was a fearful thing to live as a conquered people under Roman rule.


In Bethlehem, Mary gives birth to her firstborn child, the baby who God gave to her when the Angel Gabriel visited her (as we recounted on Sunday). Jesus was born to her just a little too fast by the cultural standard of the day. Mary was pregnant before she and Joseph got married, and it took Joseph some time to accept that God had given her the baby (not some other man). Imagine the fear in Mary’s heart when she first had to explain her vision of the angel to her fiancé. Imagine the fear in their hearts together when they started dealing with gossip and rumors of impropriety or infidelity. It was a fearful thing to raise a child who others considered illegitimate.


But, while these fears are real and should not be glossed over, they are only part of the story. The other part of Joseph and Mary’s story is hopeful. They obey the Roman census order and travel to Bethlehem. But they also know that Bethlehem is the ancestral home of King David, a sign that Rome has not always ruled over the Jews and will not rule them forever. Entering Bethlehem will remind Mary of the words of the Angel Gabriel when he announced the pregnancy to her:


“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:30-33)


Do not be afraid because God has chosen you for a great task. Do not be afraid because the child who is coming is the Son of God. Do not be afraid because this child will receive the throne of David, will rule over Israel forever and ever with no end. Do not be afraid because the Emperor of Rome and his minions will not oppress and distress you forever. Do not be afraid because no earthly king or president can ever save you like this Child can.


And just when Mary and Joseph are at their most vulnerable, when they are most afraid of how the world will react to their Son’s unusual birth, as they lay him in a manger because there is not enough space, God gives them hope. God sends angels to shepherds in the field and declares again 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” (Luke 2:10-11).


The shepherds carry this joyful message to Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Jesus. “So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:16-19)


Do not be afraid of the gossipers and haters because God is doing something great in the life of this Child. Do not be afraid of all the difficult times that are to come, because God will save all people from sin, oppression, death, and destruction, and it’s all because of Jesus. Do not be afraid, but be filled with hope.


On the first Christmas, Mary and Joseph meet all their fears and their hopes. Their fears don’t disappear because of their hope. The dangers behind their fears don’t go away either. But hope remains; hope persists; hope endures. God’s hope is firm because God’s promises are sure. We have confidence that our current trials, whether in the 1st century or the 21st century, are not all there is. We have hope in a God that is powerful enough to save, and humble enough to do so with love and gentleness. We have hope in a God that is just and will set right what cruel human rulers have done. We have hope; we have fear; and these are joined together by God’s grace on Christmas.


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


Bibliography



LEVAS #21: Go, Tell It On the Mountain

[Featuring the St. Matthew's Virtual Choir]


REFRAIN:

Go, tell it on the mountain

over the hills and everywhere;

go, tell it on the mountain,

that Jesus Christ is born.


1 While shepherds kept their watching

o’er silent flocks by night,

Behold throughout the heavens

there shown a holy light. [Refrain]


2 The shepherds feared and trembled,

when lo! above the earth,

Rang out the angel chorus

that hailed the Savior’s birth. [Refrain]


3 Down in a lowly manger

the humble Christ was born,

And God sent us salvation

that blessed Christmas morn. [Refrain]


Words: Luke 2:8-20; adapt. John W. Work, Jr. Words used by permission of Mrs. J. W. Work.

Music: Negro Spiritual; adapt. and arr. William Farley Smith © 1990 The United Methodist Hymnal by permission.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #111469. All rights reserved.



The Nicene Creed

[BCP, p. 358]

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.


The Prayers of the People

[Adapted from http://www.rickmorley.com/archives/191]

Celebrant:

Let us pray to God, who came among us in the birth of Jesus:


Intercessor:

Gracious God, as a star rose, and drew people from great distances to Bethlehem that they might greet the Christ-child; Draw us, your Church, and all of your people to you, that we might be the Church and the People who you call us to be. Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.


As you gave Mary your Holy Spirit, filling her with the delight of your Presence; Fill us with your Spirit, and renew our lives. Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.


As Gentiles streamed to Jesus’ Light, and Kings to the brightness of his rising; Draw our nation, our President, our President-Elect, and all in authority, to His brightness. Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.


As angels sang glory to you and proclaimed peace on earth, and goodwill among all peoples; Bring us your peace and bring an end to all terror and strife. Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.


As shepherds were drawn away from their flocks by night; Draw those who do not know you yet to the knowledge and love of you. Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.


As Jesus was born in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn; Be especially present with those who have nowhere to lay their head, those who are vulnerable, and those who are hungry. Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

As the Holy Family gathered together in Bethlehem and traveled together to far off lands; Bless all families, especially the families of our parish, and protect those who travel. Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.


As your son came to proclaim the forgiveness of sins, and the gift of Life Eternal; Give to the departed eternal rest and let Light perpetual shine on them. Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.


Let us pray for our own needs and those of others:

For those who are sick, especially those suffering from COVID-19, those on our Parish Prayer List, and those we remember now...

For those who have died, [especially ___________,] and those we remember now...

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.


Celebrant:

O Lord our God, may the Light and Hope of this season, and of your Son’s Incarnation, reassure our hearts that you are among us, that you hear our prayer, and that you will be with us always, even to the end of the age. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior born in Bethlehem, we pray. Amen.





Holy Communion & Spiritual Communion

The Offertory

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“O Lord our God, you are worthy to receive glory and honor and power; because you have created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (Revelation 4:11; BCP, p. 377)


Hymn #100: Joy to the World

1. Joy to the world! the Lord is come:

let earth receive her King;

let every heart prepare him room,

and heaven and nature sing,

and heaven and nature sing,

and heaven, and heaven and nature sing.


2. Joy to the world! the Savior reigns;

let us our songs employ,

while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains,

repeat the sounding joy,

repeat the sounding joy,

repeat, repeat the sounding joy.


3. No more let sins and sorrows grow,

nor thorns infest the ground;

he comes to make his blessings flow

far as the curse is found,

far as the curse is found,

far as, far as the curse is found.


4. He rules the world with truth and grace,

and makes the nations prove

the glories of his righteousness

and wonders of his love,

and wonders of his love,

and wonders, wonders of his love.


Words: Isaac Watts; Public Domain.

Music: Antioch, George Frideric Handel; adapt. and arr. Lowell Mason.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #592e04d32d423. All rights reserved.



Eucharistic Prayer B

[BCP, p. 367]


The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give him thanks and praise.


It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth

Because you gave Jesus Christ, your only Son, to be born for us; who, by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, was made perfect Man of the flesh of the Virgin Mary his mother; so that we might be delivered from the bondage of sin, and receive power to become your children.

Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven, who forever sing this hymn to proclaim the glory of your Name:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,

Hosanna in the highest.

The people remain standing.

We give thanks to you, O God, for the goodness and love which you have made known to us in creation; in the calling of Israel to be your people; in your Word spoken through the prophets; and above all in the Word made flesh, Jesus, your Son. For in these last days you sent him to be incarnate from the Virgin Mary, to be the Savior and Redeemer of the world. In him, you have delivered us from evil, and made us worthy to stand before you. In him, you have brought us out of error into truth, out of sin into righteousness, out of death into life.

On the night before he died for us, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, "Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me."

After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, "Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me."

Therefore, according to his command, O Father:

We remember his death,

We proclaim his resurrection,

We await his coming in glory!

And we offer our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to you, O Lord of all; presenting to you, from your creation, this bread and this wine.

We pray you, gracious God, to send your Holy Spirit upon these gifts that they may be the Sacrament of the Body of Christ and his Blood of the new Covenant. Unite us to your Son in his sacrifice, that we may be acceptable through him, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

In the fullness of time, put all things in subjection under your Christ, and bring us to that heavenly country where, with Blessed Mary, the Bearer of God, Blessed Matthew our patron, and all your saints, we may enter the everlasting heritage of your sons and daughters; through Jesus Christ our Lord, the firstborn of all creation, the head of the Church, and the author of our salvation.

By him, with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and forever. AMEN.



The Lord's Prayer

[BCP, p. 364]


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.


The Fraction Anthem

[BCP, p. 364]


Alleluia! Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us;

Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia!



The Peace & Presentation of the Gifts

[BCP, p. 364]


The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.

The Gifts of God for the people of God.


An Act of Receiving Spiritual Communion

[The Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book, ed. David Cobb, 2nd ed. (2014), pp. 190, 192-193]


Instructions:

"The Book of Common Prayer reminds us that if one is unable to actually consume the consecrated bread and wine due to extreme sickness or disability, the desire is enough for God to grant all the benefits of communion. When being present at a celebration of the Eucharist is absolutely impossible, this act of prayer and meditation can provide the means by which you can associate yourself with the Eucharistic Action and open yourself to God's grace and blessing."


In union, Blessed Jesus, with the faithful gathered at every altar of your Church where your blessed Body and Blood are offered this day, I long to offer you praise and thanksgiving, for creation and all the blessings of this life, for the redemption won for us by your life, death, and resurrection, for the means of grace and the hope of glory.

I believe that you are truly present in the Holy Sacrament, and, since I cannot at this time receive communion, I pray you to come into my heart. I unite myself with you and embrace you with all my heart, my soul, and my mind. Let nothing separate me from you; let me serve you in this life until, by your grace, I come to your glorious kingdom and unending peace. Amen.



LEV #26: Silent Night, Holy Night

1 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.


2 Silent night, holy night,

Shepherds quake at the sight,

Glories stream from heaven afar,

Heav’nly host sing Alleluia;

Christ the Savior is born,

Christ the Savior is born.


3 Silent night, holy night,

Son of God, loves pure light

Radiant beams from thy Holy face,

With the dawn of redeeming grace;

Jesus, Lord, at thy birth,

Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.


Words: Joseph Mohr; Public Domain.

Music: Franz Gruber; arr. Horace Clarence Boyer © 1992 Horace Clarence Boyer.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #92350. All rights reserved.


The Post-Communion Prayer

[Enriching our Worship 2 [2000], pp. 56-57]

Let us pray.

Faithful God, in the wonder of your wisdom and love you fed your people in the wilderness with the bread of angels, and you sent Jesus to be the bread of life. Though we cannot consume these gifts of bread and wine, we thank you that we have received the sacrament of Christ’s presence, the forgiveness of sins, and all other benefits of Christ’s passion. By the power of the Holy Spirit, may we embody your desire and be renewed for your service through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.


The Blessing

[The Book of Occasional Services 2018, p. 9]


May Christ, who by his Incarnation gathered into one things earthly and heavenly, fill you with his joy and peace; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.

The Dismissal

[BCP, p. 366]


Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

Thanks be to God.



Announcements


A. Christmas Eve Hybrid Worship - Communion 5-6 PM: At 5:00 (or right after the Christmas Eve worship video ends), church members are invited to gather in their cars in the parking lot to receive communion. Worshippers will stay in their cars and Fr. Arboleda will deliver communion (bread only) to people at their car windows. Communion will be available in the church parking lot from approximately 5:00-6:00 PM. Please note that the church building will not be open to the public (not even the bathrooms, unfortunately). This is the first time Holy Communion has been available to our parish since the pandemic began in March. We hope to see you then!


B. Worship with the Diocese 12/25, 12/27, & 1/3: Worship with the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia on their Facebook Page on Christmas Day (12/25/2020), the 1st Sunday After Christmas (12/27/2020), and the 2nd Sunday After Christmas (1/3/2021) at 10:00 AM on all days.

https://www.facebook.com/georgiaepiscopal


C. New Year's Eve Worship at 5 PM: St. Matthew's will hold a virtual worship service on our Facebook Page on New Year's Eve (12/31/2020) at 5:00 PM. Tune in for our celebration of the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, our goodbye to a difficult year, and our hopeful welcome of 2021.

https://www.facebook.com/stmattsav


D. Early Voting in Chatham County 12/14-12/31: The Georgia Senate Runoff Election will take place on January 5, 2021. Please make a plan to vote now! If you have not already requested and received an absentee ballot, please take advantage of the early voting period from December 14-31. The full schedule for early voting dates, times, and locations may be found here: https://www.savannahnow.com/story/news/2020/12/04/georgia-senate-runoff-election-early-voting-information-absentee-ballot-vote/3824169001/.


Fr. Arboleda spoke about the importance of early voting in a virtual press conference organized by Georgia Faith in Public Life on December 14. Read about it here: https://theamericanonews.com/2020/12/15/georgia-faith-senate/; here: https://fox28media.com/news/local/faith-leaders-encouraging-church-community-to-vote; and here: https://www.connectsavannah.com/NewsFeed/archives/2020/12/15/savannah-priest-guillermo-arboleda-joins-other-georgia-faith-leaders-in-call-for-early-voting.


E. Virtual Coffee Hour 1/3: We will hold a virtual "Coffee Hour" over Zoom on Sunday, January 3, and again on every other Sunday at 10:30 AM. (Thank you to Mrs. Rachael Blue-Jones who is donating a professional Zoom login to the church for our use.) 


For security purposes, below is the Meeting ID only; please check your St. Matthew's e-Newsletter for the password (or email FrGAA@StMattSav.org to request it).


Topic: St. Matthew's Coffee Hour

Time: Jan 3, 2021 10:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Meeting ID: 825 7251 1175

Passcode: SEE e-NEWSLETTER


Dial by your location: +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

Meeting ID: 825 7251 1175

Passcode: SEE e-NEWSLETTER


F. T/W/Th Evening Prayer via Zoom: On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, Fr. Arboleda will continue to invite parishioners to pray Evening Prayer with him over Zoom. The video will still stream to Facebook Live at 5:00 PM, but we'll see more faces and hear more voices. To join the Zoom call, click the link below at 4:45 PM on Wednesday. Otherwise, watch the prayer service as you have been on Facebook Live.


For security purposes, below is the Meeting ID only; please check your St. Matthew's e-Newsletter for the password (or email FrGAA@StMattSav.org to request it).


Topic: Zoom Evening Prayer

Time: Jan 5, 2021 05:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Every week on Tue, Wed, Thu, until Feb 25, 2021, 10 occurrence(s)


Join Zoom Meeting: See e-Newsletter


Meeting ID: 991 8577 8541

Passcode: See e-Newsletter


Dial by your location: +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington D.C)

Meeting ID: 991 8577 8541

Passcode: See e-Newsletter


G. “Trip Around the World” Quilt Raffle: The Quilter's Guild, through St. Matthew's ECW, is raffling a "Trip Around the World" Quilt to benefit St. Matthew's Building Renovation Fund. This fund supports major extra-budgetary building improvement projects, such as painting, replacing the sound system, replacing the oven in Toomer-Walker Hall, etc.


This beautiful, jewel-toned quilt measures 103"x90" and will fit a queen-sized bed. This machine-stitched quilt in tones of deep violet amethyst, blue sapphire, green emerald, blue topaz, and green peridot will enhance any bedroom.


The winner will be announced on September 30, 2021. Winners do not need to be present to win. In addition to the grand prize of the "Trip Around the World '' quilt, there will be interim raffles of seasonal quilt-type projects for no additional ticket purchase. Interim winners will still be eligible for the grand prize. The first interim drawing will be December 15, 2020.


Tickets are $15 each. Please make donations in $15 increments. Tickets may be purchased by:

  1. Mailing a check to St. Matthew's with "Quilt Raffle" in the memo line; OR

  2. Visiting https://onrealm.org/StMattSav/give/quilt

Expect your raffle tickets to be returned to you by mail or email within 5-7 business days of receipt. Direct any questions to office@stmattsav.org.


H. The Parish Prayer List:

Prayer List: Martha Avery, Anthony Blue Jr., Charlotte Blue, Zavier Bradley, Myrtle Brow-Hollis, Jacquelyn Bryant, Jocelyn Bryant, Christine Brown, Genella Chamberlain, Liam Clemons, Marquez Clemons, Taylor Blue Clemons, Teresa Blue Clemons, Annie Colbert, Lazola Cope, Alice Dailey, Beryl Dandy, Mark Dashiell, Brittany Dawson, Eduardo Espinosa, Imani Ferguson, Ruby Fernandez, Harry Frazier, Gary Gordon, Amanda Green, Loretta Harmond, Marva Harris, Enoch Henderson, Charles E. Hines, Kenneth Howard, Terri Howard, Dale Hundley, Jared Hundley, Tracy Hundley, Milinda James, Alvin Jenkins, Dana Jenkins, David Jones, Frances T. Jones, Jaiden Jones, Lori Jones, MacKenzie Jones, Nolan Jones, Olivia Jones, Rachael Blue Jones, Robert L. Jones, Sr., Ronald Jones, Tonya Jones, Emmanuel Kelley, Whitney Kennedy, Leonard Law, Jr., Ralph Lovett, Ryan Lovett, Tammie Lovett, Marcus Marzen, Joan Maty, Craig Maxwell, Sada Maxwell, Altheria Maynard Carmelita Maynard, Bette Milledge, Hollie Moultrie, Patricia Murry, Russell Nails, Dorothy Neal, Jameel Newton, Glenzy Payne, Robert Payne, Dison Washington Slaughter, James Small, Gwendolyn Smith, Courtney (Watts) Vista, Ed Vista, Willie Stephens, Lori Ward, Gertrude Washington, and Noel Wheeler


Birthdays: Ola Lewis (12/28)


Wedding Anniversaries: Milburn & Ola Lewis (12/28)


Deaths: Raleigh Bryant (12/18)

May the souls of all the departed rest in peace; and may light perpetual shine upon them. Amen.






Note: This service is reproduced from The Book of Common Prayer 1979 (BCP), The Hymnal 1982 (Hymn), Lift Every Voice and Sing II: An African American Hymnal (LEV), and other sources cited. The Scripture readings are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible.

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