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  • Writer's pictureFr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

New Year's Eve Worship 2022

The Holy Eucharist: Liturgy of the Word

A Vigil for New Year's Eve and Watch Night

December 31, 2022 at 6:00 PM


Celebrant & Preacher: The Rev. Guillermo A. Arboleda, Rector

Deacon: The Rev. Ella Roundtree-Davis, Deacon

Watch the Livestream at

A Vigil for New Year's Eve and Watch Night

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 and Joel Raney, Come, Lord Jesus, Come: A Candle Lighting Ceremony for Advent (2017)]

Pray the following litany as the Advent Wreath Candles are lit.

Tonight, we celebrate the 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!

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. Amen.

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, paraphrase of O Gracious Light, Copyright © 1985, Church Publishing, Inc. Music: The Eighth Tune, Thomas Tallis, Public Domain. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #28060. All rights reserved.

The Hebrew Year

A Reading from the Book of Exodus (23:9-16, 20-21)

[Common English Bible]

Don’t oppress an immigrant. You know what it’s like to be an immigrant, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt. For six years you should plant crops on your land and gather in its produce. But in the seventh year you should leave it alone and undisturbed so that the poor among your people may eat. What they leave behind, the wild animals may eat. You should do the same with your vineyard and your olive trees. Do your work in six days. But on the seventh day you should rest so that your ox and donkey may rest, and even the child of your female slave and the immigrant may be refreshed. Be careful to obey everything that I have said to you. Don’t call on the names of other gods. Don’t even mention them.

You should observe a festival for me three times a year. Observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread, as I commanded you. Eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, because it was in that month that you came out of Egypt. No one should appear before me empty-handed. Observe the Harvest Festival for the early produce of your crops that you planted in the field, and the Gathering Festival at the end of the year, when you gather your crop of fruit from the field.

I’m about to send a messenger in front of you to guard you on your way and to bring you to the place that I’ve made ready. Pay attention to him and do as he says. Don’t rebel against him. He won’t forgive the things you do wrong because I am with him.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

AAHH #565: More About Jesus

1 More about Jesus would I know,

More of His grace to others show,

More of His saving fullness see,

More of His love who died for me.


More, more about Jesus,

More, more about Jesus;

More of His saving fullness see,

More of His love who died for me.

2 More about Jesus let me learn,

More of His holy will discern;

Spirit of God, my Teacher be,

Showing the things of Christ to me. [Refrain]

3 More about Jesus - in His Word,

Holding communion with my Lord,

Hearing His voice in ev'ry line,

Making each faithful saying mine. [Refrain]

4 More about Jesus on His throne,

Riches in glory all His own,

More of His kingdom's sure increase;

More of His coming - Prince of peace. [Refrain]

Words: Eliza E. Hewitt, Public Domain. Music: Sweney, John R. Sweney, Public Domain. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #OLOFOB429. All rights reserved.

Let us pray:

O God our Creator, you have divided our life into days and seasons, and called us to acknowledge your providence year after year: Accept your people who come to offer their praises, and, in your mercy, receive their prayers; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Marking the Times

Psalm 19

1 The heavens declare the glory of God, *

and the firmament shows his handiwork.

2 One day tells its tale to another, *

and one night imparts knowledge to another.

3 Although they have no words or language, *

and their voices are not heard,

4 Their sound has gone out into all lands, *

and their message to the ends of the world.

5 In the deep has he set a pavilion for the sun; *

it comes forth like a bridegroom out of his chamber;

it rejoices like a champion to run its course.

6 It goes forth from the uttermost edge of the heavens

and runs about to the end of it again; *

nothing is hidden from its burning heat.

7 The law of the LORD is perfect

and revives the soul; *

the testimony of the LORD is sure

and gives wisdom to the innocent.

8 The statutes of the LORD are just

and rejoice the heart; *

the commandment of the LORD is clear

and gives light to the eyes.

9 The fear of the LORD is clean

and endures for ever; *

the judgments of the LORD are true

and righteous altogether.

10 More to be desired are they than gold,

more than much fine gold, *

sweeter far than honey,

than honey in the comb.

11 By them also is your servant enlightened, *

and in keeping them there is great reward.

12 Who can tell how often he offends? *

cleanse me from my secret faults.

13 Above all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins;

let them not get dominion over me; *

then shall I be whole and sound,

and innocent of a great offense.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my

heart be acceptable in your sight, *

O LORD, my strength and my redeemer.

LEV #208: We've Come This Far By Faith


We’ve come this far by faith,

Leaning on the Lord.

Trusting in his holy word.

He’s never failed me yet.

Oh, oh- oh- can’t turn around,

We’ve come this far by faith.

1 Don’t be discouraged

when trouble's in your life.

He’ll bear your burdens

and move all misery and strife,

that's why... [REFRAIN]

2 Just the other day I heard someone say,

He didn’t believe in God's word.

But I can truly say that God has made a way.

And He’s never failed me yet.

that's why... [REFRAIN]

Words and Music: Albert A. Goodson, Copyright © 1963, renewed 1991 Manna Music, Inc.; harm. Richard Smallwood, Copyright © 1963, renewed 1981 Manna Music, Inc. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #22180. All rights reserved.

Let us pray:

Almighty Father, you give the sun for a light by day, and the moon and the stars by night: Graciously receive us, this night and always, into your favor and protection, defending us from all harm and governing us with your Holy Spirit, that every shadow of ignorance, every failure of faith or weakness of heart, every evil or wrong desire may be removed far from us; so that we, being justified in our Lord Jesus Christ, may be sanctified by your Spirit, and glorified by your infinite mercies in the day of the glorious appearing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

A Season for All Things

A Reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes (3:1-15)

[Common English Bible]

There’s a season for everything and a time for every matter under the heavens: a time for giving birth and a time for dying, a time for planting and a time for uprooting what was planted, a time for killing and a time for healing, a time for tearing down and a time for building up, a time for crying and a time for laughing, a time for mourning and a time for dancing, a time for throwing stones and a time for gathering stones, a time for embracing and a time for avoiding embraces, a time for searching and a time for losing, a time for keeping and a time for throwing away, a time for tearing and a time for repairing, a time for keeping silent and a time for speaking, a time for loving and a time for hating, a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from all their hard work? I have observed the task that God has given human beings. God has made everything fitting in its time, but has also placed eternity in their hearts, without enabling them to discover what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there’s nothing better for them but to enjoy themselves and do what’s good while they live. Moreover, this is the gift of God: that all people should eat, drink, and enjoy the results of their hard work. I know that whatever God does will last forever; it’s impossible to add to it or take away from it. God has done this so that people are reverent before him. Whatever happens has already happened, and whatever will happen has already happened before. And God looks after what is driven away.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

LEV #71: In Times Like These

1 In times like these you need a Savior, In times like these you need an anchor; Be very sure, be very sure, Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!


This Rock is Jesus, Yes He's the One, This Rock is Jesus, the only One; Be very sure, be very sure, Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

2 In times like these you need the Bible, In times like these, O be not idle; Be very sure, be very sure, Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock! [REFRAIN 1]

3 In times like these I have a Savior, In times like these I have an anchor; I'm very sure, I'm very sure My anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!


This Rock is Jesus, Yes He's the One, This Rock is Jesus, the only One; I'm very sure, I'm very sure, My anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

Words and Music: Ruth Caye Jones, Copyright © 1944 Singspiration Music / ASCAP. All rights reserved.

Let us pray:

In your wisdom, O Lord our God, you have made all things, and have allotted to each of us the days of your life: Grant that we may live in your presence, be guided by your Holy Spirit, and offer all our works to your honor and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Acceptable Time

A Reading from the Second Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians (5:17-6:2)

[Common English Bible]

So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!

All of these new things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and who gave us the ministry of reconciliation. In other words, God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ, by not counting people’s sins against them. He has trusted us with this message of reconciliation.

So we are ambassadors who represent Christ. God is negotiating with you through us. We beg you as Christ’s representatives, “Be reconciled to God!” God caused the one who didn’t know sin to be sin for our sake so that through him we could become the righteousness of God. Since we work together with him, we are also begging you not to receive the grace of God in vain. He says, I listened to you at the right time, and I helped you on the day of salvation. Look, now is the right time! Look, now is the day of salvation!

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to 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.


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 #150646. All rights reserved.

Let us pray:

Most gracious and merciful God, you have reconciled us to yourself through Jesus Christ your Son, and called us to new life in him: Grant that we, who begin this year in his Name, may complete it to his honor and glory; who lives and reigns now and for ever. Amen.

The Sermon

“Our God Wants Us To Rest” by The Rev. Guillermo A. Arboleda, Rector

Let us pray.

“O God our Creator, you have divided our life into days and seasons, and called us to acknowledge your providence year after year: Accept your people who come to offer their praises, and, in your mercy, receive their prayers; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen” (Book of Occasional Services 2018, p. 38).

Exodus 23 is the first biblical example of God dividing “our life into days and seasons.” It is the earliest version of the Jewish liturgical calendar. It shows the people of Israel how to organize time: when to work, when to rest, when to worship, when to celebrate holidays and remember God’s saving deeds. Over many centuries, the Jewish calendar became more complex. Each festival was tied to different events in biblical history.

This is really similar to what we see in the modern Christian calendar. Over many centuries, the Church developed patterns and rhythms for how to worship at different times of year. Each holiday is typically tied to some biblical story. We start with purple Advent, then white Christmas, then green Epiphany Season, then purple Lent, then white Easter, then red Pentecost, then the long green Season after Pentecost before we start over again in Advent. Some of these holidays and seasons connect really closely to the holidays God talks about in Exodus 23. (There is an expanded version of this list of festivals, outlining the Jewish calendar, in Leviticus 23).

The truth is, we could talk for hours about the connections between Jewish and Christian calendars, holidays, beliefs, and practices. Maybe we’ll do a study on it some day. But for tonight, as we prepare for the New Year and get ourselves ready to party the night away, I just want to talk about rest. God’s key to rest, throughout the Bible, is the Sabbath.

Exodus 23:12 defines the Sabbath really simply, saying, “Do your work in six days. But on the seventh day you should rest.” Everybody is supposed to rest on the Sabbath — including servants, poor people, immigrants, and even the animals. In Jewish and Christian tradition, the Sabbath is on Saturdays. Many places where Christians are the majority (like the USA) have treated Sunday like the Sabbath because it’s a day of worship. In Christianity, Sundays are “the Lord’s Day,” when we celebrate the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

But, as you know, there is no longer a shared sense of when to rest. In this country, most businesses used to close on Sundays. But as the country has become more religiously diverse (which is good) and more driven by capitalism and profit (which is bad), work crept into our shared times of rest. American culture is really bad at resting, whichever day or time you try to do it. We are being pushed to work all the time. It’s difficult to maintain boundaries when we use our phones and the internet for everything. It’s hard to say no. It’s hard to disconnect.

But Exodus is trying to tell us that rest isn’t optional. It’s not something to do only if you feel like it or if it’s convenient. It’s something human beings, animals, and the land all need. This scripture tells us that Sabbath is a matter of justice. It’s about giving “relief” to workers who aren’t their own bosses and don’t make their own schedules. It’s about caring for working people and less privileged people. God even commands that farmers take a year off from farming every seventh year so that the land can replenish its nutrients. That’s not the way to make the most money, but it’s the right way to relate to the earth. Again, even animals and the land need rest.

The Sabbath is also about faithfulness to God. Verse 13 commands us not to worship other gods. That’s because our God — the God of Israel, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God who created all things — that God wants you to rest. Other gods don’t. The false gods and idols of this world — greed, pride, ambition — will trick us into working nonstop and wearing ourselves out. The Enemy will try to convince us that everything depends on us, and that if we just work harder, everything will be alright for us and for our loved ones. But none of that is true. None of that is grace. None of that is the gospel. Our God wants us to rest.

The world is often harsh. Our systems of labor and economy are so motivated by greed that they often abuse us. The temptation is always to work more and work harder to get ahead. But that is not God’s desire for us. Working ourselves down to the bone won’t keep the earth spinning. God is in charge of that. God is sovereign over everything. All things come from God and all things depend on God. Very little depends on me and you because God is God and we are not. The Good News is that Jesus came to save us — not because anybody prayed hard enough or worked hard enough, but just because God loves us. God did it for us; we didn’t earn it and we don’t have to. God is still working for us, so that we all can rest.

So as we enter this new year of 2023, take a look at your life and schedule. If you don’t already, set some boundaries around your work and leisure. Make space to rest. Pick a day (any day) that is set aside for you to receive God’s love. And try your best to share that time of rest with family or other loved ones.

If you have ever gotten an email from me, you might notice that below my signature, I let people know that I observe a sabbath day of rest on Fridays (and Saturdays) when possible. I work on Sundays, so I can’t rest then, and I often can’t rest on Saturdays because of church events. For years, Rev. Kelly and I have tried to follow that pattern together. And we’re not perfect at it. Sometimes important things get in the way. When that happens, we let each other know and try to make up for it at a different time. So your sabbath can be Sunday or Saturday or any time. When you do it matters less than that you do it. Our God wants us to rest. That’s how God made us and how God calls us to live, no matter the time or season. Amen.

A Litany for Watch Night

[AAHH #104]


O God, as was customary of our parents and ancestors, we come to this Watch Night vigil to be with you, in your house, as we usher out the old year and welcome the dawning of a new year.

We come, thanking you for guidance and direction. Go before us, O God, and draw us into the future where you are.


Our enslaved ancestors watched that night long ago for the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Lord, keep us awake and alert as we follow in the light of your Word, searching for the good news of the gospel, and the comforting signs of your love in this world.

We thank you for watching over us and caring for us through the old year, as we walked in the light of your love. We thank you for your promises of peace, healing, and justice.


We come, O God, with great expectations and great hopes. Keep these fires kindled within us that we may watch and wait, and once more feel your presence. Let us know your power as we embark upon this journey.

You have led us in the past. Guide us now, and always, that we might choose to do your will and follow your way. We are pilgrims in a barren land.


We give you praise, O God, for your goodness and mercy; for life, health and friends, and for the many blessings you always send. Above all, we thank you for Jesus Christ, who lifts our hopes, guides us in the Way, in this new year, and in years to come.

All praise, honor, glory, and thanks to you, our God, through Jesus Christ our risen Savior and Lord. Amen.

Parish Announcements

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

  • 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 is Back on 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 as you have been on Facebook Live.

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. 376, 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!

[Verses 1-3]

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, Public Domain. Music: We'll Walk in the Light, George D. Elderkin; arr. Evelyn Simpson-Curenton © 2000 GIA Publications, Inc. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #94883. All rights reserved.

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 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! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thanks be to God! Alleluia! Alleluia!

The Parish Prayer List

Prayer List: Martha Avery, Mary Bonaparte, Jacqueline Bryant, Lazola Cope, Aaron Duplechien Jr., Loretta Harmond, Marva Harris, Whitney Kennedy, Sada Maxwell, Bette Milledge, John "Butch" Mitchell, Linda Angela Odom, Jeanette Outing, Paulette Sibert, and Jewel Wheeler

Birthdays: James Williams (1/1), James Sanders (1/2), Margaret McAlister (1/4), Sarai Rhett (1/5), Shirley Ann Way (1/6)

Wedding Anniversaries: N/A

Recent Deaths: N/A

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), 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.

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