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  • Writer's pictureFr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

New Year's Eve Worship for December 31, 2021

The Holy Eucharist: Liturgy of the Word

Eve of the Holy Name of Jesus

December 31, 2021

Watch the Livestream at

Friday, December 31, at 7:00 p.m. (or anytime afterward)

The Holy Eucharist: Rite II

The Word of God

Hymn #450: All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name

[Verses 1-3, 6]

1 All hail the power of Jesus' Name!

Let angels prostrate fall;

bring forth the royal diadem,

and crown him Lord of all!

bring forth the royal diadem,

and crown him Lord of all!

2 Crown him ye martyrs of our God,

who from his altar call:

praise him whose way of pain ye trod,

and crown him Lord of all!

praise him whose way of pain ye trod,

and crown him Lord of all!

3 Hail him, the Heir of David's line,

whom David Lord did call,

the God incarnate, Man divine,

and crown him Lord of all!

the God incarnate, Man divine,

and crown him Lord of all!

6 Let every kindred, every tribe,

on this terrestrial ball,

to him all majesty ascribe,

and crown him Lord of all!

to him all majesty ascribe,

and crown him Lord of all!

Words: Edward Perronet, alt., Public Domain.

Music: Coronation, Oliver Holden, alt., Public Domain; desc. Michael E. Young © 1979, GIA Publications, Inc.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #28786. All rights reserved.

The Lighting of the Candles

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 Opening Sentence

[BCP, p. 355]

Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

And blessed be God's kingdom, now and for ever. Amen.

Collect for Purity

[BCP, p. 355]

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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.

The Collect of the Day

[BCP, p. 357, 213]

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Let us pray:

Eternal Father, you gave to your incarnate Son the holy name of Jesus to be the sign of our salvation: Plant in every heart, we pray, the love of him who is the Savior of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

A Reading from the Book of Numbers (6:22-27)

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the Israelites: You shall say to them,

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

So they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Psalm 8

[BCP, p. 592]

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

1 O Lord our Governor, * how exalted is your Name in all the world!

2 Out of the mouths of infants and children * your majesty is praised above the heavens.

3 You have set up a stronghold against your adversaries, * to quell the enemy and the avenger.

4 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, * the moon and the stars you have set in their courses,

5 What is man that you should be mindful of him? * the son of man that you should seek him out?

6 You have made him but little lower than the angels; * you adorn him with glory and honor;

7 You give him mastery over the works of your hands; * you put all things under his feet:

8 All sheep and oxen, * even the wild beasts of the field,

9 The birds of the air, the fish of the sea, * and whatsoever walks in the paths of the sea.

10 O Lord our Governor, * how exalted is your Name in all the world!

A Reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Galatians (4:4-7)

When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God

The People stand for the reading of the Gospel.

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ According to St. Luke (2:15-21)

Glory to you, Lord Christ.

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. After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Christ.

The Sermon

“Watch Night Y2K and 2K22” by The Rev. Guillermo A. Arboleda

One of my most memorable New Year’s Eves was December 31, 1999. At the time I was still a child, but even I remember all the confusion, fear, and anxiety about “Y2K.” For those of you who need a refresher, people were concerned that computers all over the world would be confused when we transitioned from 1999 to 2000. The so-called “millennium bug” in most computer programs would mistakenly treat ‘00 as the year 1900.

Economists, technology experts, and the media predicted all kinds of economic and logistical crises at the beginning of 2000. People everywhere were afraid of what would happen to their banks, jobs, traffic lights, and other aspects of everyday life. Mind you, we had a lot less computer technology integrated into our day to day movements 22 years ago than we do now. This was before most people had high-speed internet or cell phones and way before smartphones, smart watches, and the rest. But I remember all the adults around me had this low-level anxiety about the unknown chaos that might ensue.

But as the clock struck midnight and we entered the new millennium, I wasn’t worried about Y2K and potential economic collapse. I was in church, and I bet most of you were too. I’m not gonna act like my family went to church every New Year’s Eve, but in 1999, we were definitely there. We were in my grandparents’ Spanish-speaking United Methodist church in Queens, NY (La Primera Iglesia Metodista Unida de Corona). I learned recently that Watch Night services were popularized by John Wesley (an Anglican priest and the founder of Methodism) in the 1730s. We were following in that long tradition of gathering in church to welcome the new year.

I honestly can’t remember the details of what was preached or which hymns and coritos we sang, but I can remember being reassured that God is good and we were in safe hands. I also distinctly remember the traffic lights still worked throughout New York City as we drove home after worship. Y2K created some minor inconveniences, but it was not a major crisis like we feared. But even if it had been a crisis, God would have carried us through.

That’s part of why we are gathered together virtually this New Year’s Eve. We’re not going to be here all the way until midnight (unless you watch this video later than 7:00), but we’re carrying on the spirit of Watch Night. The circumstances are different year in and year out. But God never changes. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). New Year’s Eve is an opportunity to reflect upon the last year and rededicate ourselves to walking with Jesus no matter what comes our way. And in this community, on Watch Night we remember God’s power to liberate and save Black Americans from slavery.

On Watch Night, we tell stories about God being faithful. We recall that God provides us a “stronghold against [our] enemies” (Psalm 8:3). In the 1800s, it was illegal in Georgia for enslaved people to gather for worship without White supervision, but Black people resisted by gathering anyway (NMAAHC). They met in secret to praise the God of our ancestors who makes no peace with oppression, who did not want them to remain in bondage, but would send a new Moses to liberate them.

Then in 1862, Watch Night took on a new meaning in the Black community. On September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln’s Administration issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all enslaved people in the rebellious Confederate states. The Proclamation did not take effect until January 1, 1863. (I didn’t know until very recently that there was a three-month gap between the signing and the effect.) So on December 31, enslaved Black people who had heard the news held vigil. They waited for midnight and then for dawn, for the sun to rise on their freedom. On that night, they might have heard St. Paul’s words that we read tonight: “So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God” (Galatians 4:7). The end of slavery allowed them to become on earth what they had always been in God’s eyes: free, beloved children of God.

So as we gather tonight, we offer thanks to God for providing a way to freedom. We thank God for ancestors who fought for freedom from slavery and freedom from Jim Crow. And we pray for strength to keep fighting for freedom from mass incarceration, poverty, police brutality, and every form of racism and oppression. As we welcome the new year, we know that God is on our side in this struggle. God is loving, liberating, and life-giving, and God always has been. No matter what comes our way in 2022, God is faithful and God will be with us. We’ll survive and we’ll thrive by God’s almighty hand. Amen.


LEV #107: There's Something About That Name

[Repeat as desired]

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!

There's just something about that name!

Master, Savior, Jesus!

Like the fragrance after the rain.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!

Let all heaven and earth proclaim:

Kings and kingdoms will all pass away,

But there's something about that name!

Words: Gloria and William Gaither © 1970 William J. Gaither

Music: William J. Gaither © 1970 William J. Gaither.

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


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 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

A. Christmas 2021-2022 Worship Schedule: Please see our upcoming worship schedule for the Christmas season below. All Services (except New Year's Eve) are both in-person and live-streamed to our Facebook page:

  • Sunday, 1/2: 2nd Sunday in Christmas - Holy Eucharist at 9:30 AM

  • Thursday, 1/6: Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ - Holy Eucharist at 6:00 PM

B. T/W/Th Evening Prayer on Hiatus until 1/4: 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.

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

Topic: Zoom Evening Prayer

Time: 05:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada) every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday

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

C. Revised COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for In-Person Worship: On June 21, the Vestry authorized revised COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for in-person worship at St. Matthew's. At the October Vestry meeting, they reaffirmed the use of these guidelines and the maintenance of this temporary Sunday worship schedule.

All people in attendance are still required to wear masks that cover the nose and mouth at all times and maintain social distancing in their assigned seating areas. Click here to read the Vestry's June 2021 COVID-19 Safety Guidelines in their entirety.

The Offertory

[BCP, p. 377]

Giving to St. Matthew's: We know that many people are feeling the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The church is feeling it too. We still need your support to pay our staff, pay our bills, and provide for these online live streams. There are several ways to give, but the simplest are these:

  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! Unto us a child is born: O come, let us adore Him! Alleluia! [BCP, p. 43]

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.

AAHH #651: Doxology

[See also Hymn # 380, v. 3]

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.

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.

A Litany for Watch Night

[AAHH #104]

Litanist #1:

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.

Litanist #2:

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.

Litanist #3:

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.

The Dismissal

[BCP, p. 366]

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!

Thanks be to God!

The Parish Prayer List

Prayer List: Guillermo G. Arboleda, Martha Avery, Christine Brown, Jacqueline Bryant, Lazola Cope, Aaron Duplechien Jr., Annie Bell Greer, Loretta Harmond, Marva Harris, Patricia Jenkins, Steve Johnson, Whitney Kennedy, Sada Maxwell, Craig Maxwell, Helen Scroggins

Birthdays: 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), The Hymnal 1982 (Hymn), Lift Every Voice and Sing II: An African American Hymnal (LEV), African American Heritage Hymnal (AAHH), and other sources cited. The Scripture readings are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible.

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