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  • Writer's pictureFr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

Christmas Eve Worship 2022

The Holy Eucharist

Christmas Eve (RCL Selection I)

December 24, 2022 at 6:00 PM

Celebrant and Preacher: The Rev. Guillermo A. Arboleda

Deacon: The Rev. Ella Roundtree-Davis

Watch the Livestream at

This painting is called "The Holy Family" by the Right Rev. Frank S. Logue, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. It depicts St. Joseph, St. Mary, and baby Jesus. Bishop Logue created this using spray paint and plywood and donated it to St. Matthew's Church in 2021.

The Holy Eucharist: Rite II

The Christmas Service of Light

The church is partially dark when the service is to begin.

Introit: "I Wonder As I Wander" - Solo: Idella Jones

[Words and Music: Appalachian carol; collected and adapted by John Jacob Niles, Copyright © 1934 G. Schirmer, Inc. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #214678. 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

Because injustice and despair threaten to overwhelm us,

We pray for hope.

The first purple candle in the Advent wreath is lit.

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

We pray for peace.

The second purple candle in the Advent wreath is lit.

Because grief and loss weigh so heavily,

We pray for joy.

The third rose-colored candle in the Advent wreath is lit.

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

We pray for love.

The fourth purple candle in the Advent wreath is lit.

Tonight, We celebrate hope fulfilled in the birth of Christ.

Joy to the world! The Lord has come.

Tonight, we celebrate the promise of peace on earth.

Let earth receive her King.

Tonight, we celebrate the joy of knowing a savior has come.

Let every heart prepare Him room.

Tonight, we celebrate the love of God, through Jesus Christ.

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!

The white Christ Candle in the center of the Advent wreath is lit.

Tonight, we light all five candles on this advent wreath. As the flames gleam we are reminded that Christ is the true light of the world, and with the Christ candle in the center, the flames of hope, peace, joy and love burn even brighter. So it is with Christ in our hearts, we can rest in the hope of eternal life, and look forward to the promised peace on earth. Joy to the world! The Lord has come.

The acolytes pass the fire from the Christ candle to the worshippers in the congregation during the following hymn.

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. 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.

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. 4 Silent night, holy night, All is dark save the light Yonder where thy sweet vigils keep. O’er the Babe who in silence sleep; Rest in heavenly peace.

[Words: Joseph Mohr. Music: Franz Gruber; arr. Horace Clarence Boyer, Copyright © 1992 Horace Clarence Boyer. Printed with permission under ONE LICENSE #122904.All rights reserved.]

A Candlelight Prayer

Let us pray:

Gracious God, as we celebrate tonight, we join with the angel choir in proclaiming your glory. We thank you for giving us the perfect gift this Christmas Eve, the gift of eternal life through Christ. We ask that you guide our feet, direct our minds, hear our prayers, and fill our hearts with the hope, peace, joy, and love this Christmas season. We ask these things in the name of Christ Jesus, our savior and Lord. Amen.

Dearly beloved, be not afraid; even now the light of Christ is overwhelming the world!

The lights in the church are turned on. The people may extinguish their candles.

The Altar Party begins a joyful procession around the church.

The Word of God

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, alt. Music: Antioch, George Frederic Handel; adapt. and arr. Lowell Masson. Printed with permission under ONE LICENSE #BP2263. 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 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 Paul's 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.

Hymn #87: Hark the Herald Angels Sing

1. Hark! the herald angels sing

glory to the newborn King!

Peace on earth and mercy mild,

God and sinners reconciled!

Joyful, all ye nations, rise,

join the triumph of the skies;

with the angelic hosts proclaim

Christ is born in Bethlehem!


Hark! the herald angels sing,

glory to the newborn King!

2 Christ, by highest heaven adored;

Christ, the everlasting Lord;

late in time behold him come,

offspring of the Virgin's womb.

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;

hail the incarnate Deity.

Pleased as man with us to dwell;

Jesus, our Emmanuel! [Refrain]

3. Mild he lays his glory by,

born that we no more may die,

born to raise us from the earth,

born to give us second birth.

Risen with healing in his wings,

Light and life to all he brings,

hail, the Sun of Righteousness!

hail, the heav'n-born Prince of Peace! [Refrain]

[Words: Charles Wesley, alt. Music: Mendelssohn, Felix Mendelssohn; adapt. William H. Cunnings. Printed with permission under ONE LICENSE #83988. All rights reserved.]

The People remain seated for the Christmas Pageant Gospel.

The Children participating in the Pop-up Pageant stand in their places.

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

Glory to you, Lord Christ.

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When 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.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Christ.

The Sermon

"God's Gift To Us" by The Rev. Guillermo A. Arboleda, Rector

Believe it or not, a long time ago, I was a little boy. (Well, I was never really little.) When I was a boy, I loved Christmas Eve! We went to church every Christmas Eve. And after we got home, my family’s tradition was for everyone to open one present on Christmas Eve. We had to save the rest for Christmas morning, but we could pick one for that night. This was before “Santa Claus” came, so not all the presents were there. But the gifts from my family members were already under the tree, and on Christmas Eve we could pick one from the bunch.

It became a game. My brothers and I gathered all the gifts with our names on them into separate piles. I looked carefully at the wrapping paper and the shape of the box underneath to try to figure out what they were. Then I had to decide which one would be the most fun to play with first. By the time I was about 10 years old, I figured out that I needed to avoid the thin rectangular boxes because those usually had clothes inside. Back then, I didn’t care about clothes. I wanted a toy or a video game or something to pass the time with until I went to bed. Then I’d hardly sleep because I was so excited for Christmas morning. I would get up early and have to wait for my parents to wake up (or wake them up myself). Then we would finally, as a family, open all the rest of our presents together.

Maybe this story sounds familiar to you and your family’s Christmas traditions. If you’re an adult, you might have done something similar as a child. At least for me, I have lots of memories of family gatherings, opening those Christmas Eve presents, and opening the Christmas Day presents.

But, even though we went every year, I don’t remember that much about church on Christmas Eve. I know I sang in a children’s choir some of those years. I know there were poinsettias, those pretty red flowers. I know there were Christmas pageants, and we got to act out the Christmas story in front of the adults. But I also remember lots of times when I just couldn’t wait to get out of there to open that first gift!

Looking back on it now, I was missing the point. Christmas is actually Jesus’ birthday! And we celebrate it by giving gifts to each other! It’s kinda weird, right? On most people’s birthdays, the birthday girl or boy gets gifts.

But on Christmas, Jesus is God’s gift to us. God came to save us by becoming a baby boy named Jesus all those years ago. Jesus’ birth is a sign that God loves us. Jesus’ birth means that we are free to love each other and live together in peace and harmony. Like the angels said, Peace on earth, and good will toward all people (Luke 2:14, paraphrased). Jesus is God’s gift to us.

That’s why we’re here. We take time on Christmas Eve to receive God’s gift to us, the baby Savior Jesus. We’re here together to thank God for that precious gift. In a few minutes, we’ll come forward to the altar rails and receive communion. We believe that Jesus is with us in the bread and the wine. God fills us with grace when we eat the bread and drink the wine. Once again, we are receiving the gift of Jesus. We can taste and see God’s love for us.

In that way, Communion is like the other presents we’ll open tonight and tomorrow. Except Jesus is an eternal gift, much better than toys, games, or clothes. Jesus loves us so much, and he wants us to love God and love one another. So on his birthday, Jesus is here to celebrate with us again, filling us up with kindness and love. Amen.

CHOIR: "Glory, Glory, Glory to the Newborn King!"

[Words: Margaret Allison. Tune: "Wonderful Child," Copyright © 1950 Harry Bagby, renewed by Margaret Allison (BMI). All rights reserved.]

The Nicene Creed

[BCP, p. 358]

All standing as they are able, the People pray:

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

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

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, 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, especially for those suffering from COVID-19, those on our Parish Prayer List, and those we remember now...

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

The Celebrant prays:

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.

The Peace

[BCP, p. 360]

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.

Parish Announcements

Christmas Season Worship Schedule: During the Christmas Season (12/24/2022–01/06/2023), St. Matthew's will hold the following worship services:

  • Sun., 12/25 Christmas Day: Christmas Lessons & Carols at 9:30 AM

  • Sat., 12/31 New Year's Eve: Watch Night Worship at 6:00 PM ONLINE ONLY

  • Sun., 1/1 New Year's Day: Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus Worship at 9:30 AM

  • Fri., 1/6 Feast of the Epiphany: Holy Eucharist and Chalk Blessing at 6:00 PM

T/W/Th Evening Prayer on Hiatus until 1/3: On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, St. Matthew's invites you to pray Evening Prayer over Zoom. The video will continue to stream to Facebook Live at 5:00 PM. Please join the Zoom call by 4:55 PM. Otherwise, watch the prayer service on Facebook Live.

Fri., 1/6 Feast of the Epiphany: Holy Eucharist and Chalk Blessing at 6:00 PM

MLK Day Parade 1/16/23: The Savannah Martin Luther King Jr. Observance Day Parade is scheduled to make its triumphant return on Monday, January 16, 2023, after two years off due to the pandemic. St. Matthew's has once again organized a walking and riding group in the parade for all the Savannah Episcopal parishes. We plan to hold a worship service and reception after the parade.

Annual Parish Meeting on 1/29/23: Join us on January 29, 2023, after Sunday morning worship to attend the Annual Parish Meeting. We will present reports from 2022 and share the operating budget for 2023. We will also hear from the new Strategic Planning Committee about upcoming events.

The Offertory

[BCP, p. 80]

Giving to St. Matthew's:

  1. Mail us a check or money order at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 1401 Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd, Savannah, GA 31415; OR

  2. Make a secure online gift to St. Matthew’s and/or automate future gifts at:; OR

  3. Text “stmattsav” to 73256 to make a secure online donation through your phone.

NOTE: Donations made online (#2 or #3) through Realm incur a processing fee of about 2.5%. Please consider adding an additional 2.5% to your online gift to cover these costs.

Alleluia! To us a child is born:

O Come, let us adore Him! Alleluia!

AAHH #217: Jesus the Light of the World

1 Hark the herald angels sing.

Jesus, the light of the world.

Glory to the new-born King.

Jesus, the light of the world.


We’ll walk in the light, beautiful light.

Come where the dewdrops of mercy shine bright.

Oh, shine all around us by day and by night.

Jesus, the light of the world.

2 Joyful, all ye nations, rise.

Jesus, the light of the world.

Join the triumph of the skies.

Jesus, the light of the world. [Refrain]

3 Christ, by highest heav'n adored.

Jesus, the light of the world.

Christ, the everlasting Lord,

Jesus, the light of the world. [Refrain]

4 Hail, the heav'n-born Prince of Peace.

Jesus, the light of the world.

Hail, the Sun of righteousness!

Jesus, the light of the world. [Refrain]

[Words: George D. Elderkin; verses by Charles Wesley. Music: We'll Walk In The Light, with refrain by George D. Elderkin; arr. Evelyn Simpson-Curenton. Copyright © 2000. GIA Publications, Inc. Printed with permission under ONE LICENSE #94883. All rights reserved.]

LEV #24: Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow

1 There’s a star in the east on Christmas morn, Rise up shepherd and follow, It will lead to the place where the Christ was born, Rise up shepherd and follow. REFRAIN: Follow, follow, Rise up shepherd and follow, Follow the Star of Bethlehem, Rise up shepherd and follow. 2 If you take good heed to the angel’s words, Rise up shepherd and follow, You’ll forget your flocks, you’ll forget your herds, Rise up shepherd and follow. [Refrain]

[Words: Traditional. Music: Negro Spiritual, arr. Copyright © 2000, GIA Publications, Inc. Printed with permission under ONE LICENSE #211111. All rights reserved.]

AAHH #651: Doxology

[See also Hymn # 380, v. 3]

Praise God, Praise God, Praise God!

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

Praise Him, all creatures here below;

Praise Him above, ye heav'nly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.


[Words: Thomas Ken, Public Domain. Music: Old 100th, attributed to Louis Bourgeois, Public Domain. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #84260. All rights reserved.]

Eucharistic Prayer D

[BCP, p. 372]

It is truly right to glorify you, Father, and to give you thanks; for you alone are God, living and true, dwelling in light inaccessible from before time and for ever. Fountain of life and source of all goodness, you made all things and fill them with your blessing; you created them to rejoice in the splendor of your radiance. Countless throngs of angels stand before you to serve you night and day; and, beholding the glory of your presence, they offer you unceasing praise. Joining with them, and giving voice to every creature under heaven, we acclaim you, and glorify your Name, as we sing,

Hymn S-125:

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.

[Words: Public Domain. Music: From A Community Mass, Richard Proulx © 1971, 1977 GIA Publications, Inc. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #00216. All rights reserved.]

The people stand or kneel.

We acclaim you, holy Lord, glorious in power. Your mighty works reveal your wisdom and love. You formed us in your own image, giving the whole world into our care, so that, in obedience to you, our Creator, we might rule and serve all your creatures. When our disobedience took us far from you, you did not abandon us to the power of death. In your mercy you came to our help, so that in seeking you we might find you. Again and again you called us into covenant with you, and through the prophets you taught us to hope for salvation.

Father, you loved the world so much that in the fullness of time you sent your only Son to be our Savior. Incarnate by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, he lived as one of us, yet without sin. To the poor he proclaimed the good news of salvation; to prisoners, freedom; to the sorrowful, joy. To fulfill your purpose he gave himself up to death; and, rising from the grave, destroyed death, and made the whole creation new.

And, that we might live no longer for ourselves, but for him who died and rose for us, he sent the Holy Spirit, his own first gift for those who believe, to complete his work in the world, and to bring to fulfillment the sanctification of all.

When the hour had come for him to be glorified by you, his heavenly Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end; at supper with them he 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."

Father, we now celebrate this memorial of our redemption. Recalling Christ's death and his descent among the dead, proclaiming his resurrection and ascension to your right hand, awaiting his coming in glory; and offering to you, from the gifts you have given us, this bread and this cup,

Hymn S-139:

...we praise you and we bless you.

We praise you, we bless you,

We give thanks to you,

And we pray to you, Lord our God

[Words: Public Domain. Music: Plainsong, Te Deum Tone; adapt. Mason Martens, Copyright © 1983 Mason Martens. All rights reserved.]

Lord, we pray that in your goodness and mercy your Holy Spirit may descend upon us, and upon these gifts, sanctifying them and showing them to be holy gifts for your holy people, the bread of life and the cup of salvation, the Body and Blood of your Son Jesus Christ.

Grant that all who share this bread and cup may become one body and one spirit, a living sacrifice in Christ, to the praise of your Name.

Remember, Lord, your one holy catholic and apostolic Church, redeemed by the blood of your Christ. Reveal its unity, guard its faith, and preserve it in peace.

And grant that we may find our inheritance with the Blessed Virgin Mary and Blessed Joseph, with patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, with Blessed Matthew and all the saints who have found favor with you in ages past. We praise you in union with them and give you glory through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Through Christ, and with Christ, and in Christ, all honor and glory are yours, Almighty God and Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. 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 Anthems

[BCP, p. 364, 407]

Hymn S-152:

Alleluia! Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us!

Therefore let us keep the feast! Alleluia!

[Words: Public Domain. Music: Ambrosian chant; adapt. Mason Martens, Copyright © 1971 Mason Martens.]

LEV #269:

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:

grant us peace.

[Words: Public Domain. Music: Lena McLin, Eucharist of the Soul, Copyright © 1972 General Words and Music Co. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #57436. All rights reserved.]

Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

The Gifts of God for the people of God.

AAHH #201: O Holy Night, Solo: Paulette Sibert

1 O holy night! the stars are brightly shining; It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining, Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope - the weary soul rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn! Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born! O night, O holy night, O night divine! 2 Led by the light of faith serenely beaming, With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand. So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming, Here came the Wise Men from Orient land. The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger, In all our trials born to be our Friend. He knows our need — to our weakness is no stranger. Behold your King, before Him lowly bend! Behold your King, before Him lowly bend! 3 Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His gospel is peace. Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother, And in His name all oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we; Let all within us praise His holy name. Christ is the Lord! O praise His name forever! His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim! His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!

[Words: John S. Dwight. Tune: Cantique De Noel, Irregular; Adolphe Adam. © 1971, 1977 GIA Publications, Inc. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #211091. All rights reserved.]

LEV #27: Away in a Manger

1 Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head. The stars in the sky looked down where He lay, The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay. 2 The cattle are lowing the Baby awakes, But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes, I love thee, Lord Jesus! Look down from the sky, And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

3 Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay Close by me forever, and love me, I pray. Bless all the dear children in thy tender care, And fit us for heaven to heaven to live with thee there.

[Words: Anonymous. Music: James R. Murray; arr. Edythe Ethelynn Woodruff. Public Domain. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.]

The Post-Communion Prayer

[BCP, p. 365; Enriching our Worship 2 [2000], pp. 56-57]

Let us pray.

For In-Person Worshippers:

Eternal God, heavenly Father,

you have graciously accepted us as living members

of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ,

and you have fed us with spiritual food

in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood.

Send us now into the world in peace,

and grant us strength and courage

to love and serve you

with gladness and singleness of heart;

through Christ our Lord. Amen.

For Online Worshippers and Those Receiving Spiritual Communion:

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 now 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 of the People

[Adapted from 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.

LEV #21: Go, Tell It on the Mountain!

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., used by permission of Mrs. J. W. Work. Music: Negro Spiritual; adapt. and arr. William Farley Smith, Copyright © 1989 The United Methodist Publishing House. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #83111. All rights reserved.]

The Dismissal

[BCP, p. 366]

Let us go forth in the name of Christ! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thanks be to God! Alleluia! Alleluia!


The Altar Guild would like to thank everyone who donated Poinsettias or Fair Linens for the Altar and who provided a monetary gift. Below is the list of those who gave and who they gave in memory of/thanksgiving for.

Dr. Janice Vaughn ................................ Mr. & Mrs. John A Singleton

Charles McMillan.................................. Family Members

Mae Idella Jones ................................... Loved Ones

Eula Lee Dandy ..................................... Son

Deacon Ella Davis ................................. Davis/Roundtree Family

Jeannette Outing .................................. Richard and Other Loved Ones

Joenelle & Charles Gordon .................. Gordon/Brown families & E. Cecil Walker

Freida McDew Shorter.......................... Obey Shorter & Dr. & Mrs. Stephen McDew

Mr. & Mrs. Charles Tennerson ............ Loved Ones

General &B Lazola Cope ...................... Loved Ones

Karsten Tyson ....................................... Beverly & Robert Tyson and Thanksgiving for Harold & Andreadese Jones Mallette

Jessie Stevenson ................................... Loved Ones

Sandra Mitchell ..................................... Mitchell Family

Robinson, Newton, Wynn Families ..... Dockery, Newton, Wynn, Robinson, Sanders, Gordon, and Seabrooks Families

Margaret Anne Pearson........................ Priester, Roberts, Rawls Families

The Rev. Charles & Evalena Hoskins ... Loved Ones

Lavinea Kennedy & Vivian Roundtree . Gwendolyn G. Odom, Angela M. Griffin, and Margaret & Eddie Griffin

The Parish Prayer List

PRAYER LIST: Anita Arboleda-Silva, Martha Avery, Mary Bonaparte, Jacqueline Bryant, Lazola Cope, Aaron Duplechien Jr., Jordan Jones Green, Loretta Harmond, Marva Harris, Benjamin Jones, Whitney Kennedy, Sada Maxwell, Bette Milledge, Jeffrey Miller, John "Butch" Mitchell, Linda Angela Odom, Jeanette Outing, Paulette Sibert, and Jewel Wheeler




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

Permissions and Credits: This service is reproduced from The Book of Common Prayer 1979 (BCP), Enriching Our Worship 1 (EOW1), The Hymnal 1982 (Hymn), Lift Every Voice and Sing II: An African American Hymnal (LEV), and other sources cited. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture readings are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible.

Image Credits: This painting on the cover is called "The Holy Family" by the Right Rev. Frank S. Logue, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. It depicts St. Joseph, St. Mary, and baby Jesus. Bishop Logue created this using spray paint and plywood and donated it to St. Matthew's Church in 2021.

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