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  • Writer's pictureLysa Rodriguez

Sunday 9:30 AM Worship on December 31, 2023


The Holy Eucharist

1st Sunday after Christmas (Year B)

December 31, 2023 at 9:30 AM

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


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The Holy Eucharist: Enriching Our Worship


Note: In Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany Seasons, St. Matthew's will use prayers from Enriching Our Worship 1 (1997). Enriching Our Worship is a series of supplemental worship resources for The Episcopal Church. One of its objectives is to honor the experience of women by providing gender-neutral language for God in its prayers, expanding the Church's vocabulary of prayer from other parts of Scripture and Christian Tradition. There are changes, small and great, throughout the service, so pay attention and ask questions during our Christian Education Hour.



Hymn #83: O Come, All Ye Faithful


1 O come, all ye faithful,

joyful and triumphant,

O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;

come, and behold him,

born the King of angels;


Refrain:

O come, let us adore him,

O come, let us adore him,

O come, let us adore him,

Christ the Lord.


2 God from God,

Light from Light eternal,

lo! he abhors not the Virgin's womb;

only-begotten

Son of the Father; [Refrain]


3 Sing, choirs of angels,

sing in exultation;

sing, all ye citizens of heaven above;

glory to God,

glory in the highest; [Refrain]


4 See how the shepherds,

summoned to his cradle,

leaving their flocks, draw nigh to gaze;

we too will thither

bend our joyful footsteps; [Refrain]


5 Child, for us sinners

poor and in the manger,

we would embrace thee, with love and awe;

who would not love thee,

loving us so dearly? [Refrain]


6 Yea, Lord, we greet thee,

born this happy morning;


Jesus, to thee be glory given;

Word of the Father,

now in flesh appearing; [Refrain]


[Words: John Francis Wade; tr. Frederick Oakley and others. Music: Adeste fideles, present of melody att. John Francis Wade; harm. The English Hymnal, 1906. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #EXS00153SD]



The Opening Acclamation 

[EOW1, p. 50]


Blessed be the one, holy, and living God.

Glory to God forever and ever. Amen.


 

The 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.



Lighting the Advent Wreath


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.

 

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

 

Today, we celebrate the hope fulfilled in the birth of Christ.

Joy to the world! The Lord has come.

Today, we celebrate the promise of peace on earth.

Let earth receive her King.

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

Let every heart prepare Him room.

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

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!

 

Today, 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 #96: Angels We Have Heard on High


1. Angels we have heard on high

sweetly singing through the night,

and the mountains in reply

echoing their brave delight.


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, alt. Words by Permission of Flemming H. Revell Company. Music: Gloria, French carol; arr. Edward Shippen Barnes. Reprinted with permission by ONE LICENSE #84073.]



The Collect of the Day

[BCP, p. 357, 234]


The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

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.



A Reading from the Book of Isaiah (61:10-62:3)


I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,my whole being shall exult in my God;

for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,

as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

For as the earth brings forth its shoots,and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,

so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praiseto spring up before all the nations.

For Zion's sake I will not keep silent,and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest,

until her vindication shines out like the dawn,and her salvation like a burning torch.

The nations shall see your vindication,and all the kings your glory;

and you shall be called by a new namethat the mouth of the Lord will give.

You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.


Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people.

Thanks be to God.


Psalm 147

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


1 Hallelujah!

How good it is to sing praises to our God! *

how pleasant it is to honor him with praise!


2 The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem; *

he gathers the exiles of Israel.


3 He heals the brokenhearted *

and binds up their wounds.


4 He counts the number of the stars *

and calls them all by their names.


5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power; *

there is no limit to his wisdom.


6 The Lord lifts up the lowly, *

but casts the wicked to the ground.


7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; *

make music to our God upon the harp.


8 He covers the heavens with clouds *

and prepares rain for the earth;


9 He makes grass to grow upon the mountains *

and green plants to serve mankind.


10 He provides food for flocks and herds *

and for the young ravens when they cry.

11 He is not impressed by the might of a horse; *

he has no pleasure in the strength of a man;


12 But the Lord has pleasure in those who fear him, *

in those who await his gracious favor.


13 Worship the Lord, O Jerusalem; *

praise your God, O Zion;


14 For he has strengthened the bars of your gates; *

he has blessed your children within you.


15 He has established peace on your borders; *

he satisfies you with the finest wheat.


16 He sends out his command to the earth, *

and his word runs very swiftly.


17 He gives snow like wool; *

he scatters hoarfrost like ashes.


18 He scatters his hail like bread crumbs; *

who can stand against his cold?


19 He sends forth his word and melts them; *

he blows with his wind, and the waters flow.


20 He declares his word to Jacob, *

his statutes and his judgments to Israel.


21 He has not done so to any other nation; *

to them he has not revealed his judgments.

Hallelujah!



A Reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Galatians (3:23-25; 4:4-7)

Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian.

But 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.


Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people.

Thanks be to God.



Hymn #82: Of the Father’s Love Begotten (verses 1-3)


1 Of the Father's love begotten,

ere the worlds began to be,

he is Alpha and Omega,

he the source, the ending he,

of the things that are, that have been,

and that future years shall see,

evermore and evermore!


2 O that birth for ever blessed,

when the Virgin, full of grace,

by the Holy Ghost conceiving,

bore the Savior of our race;

and the Babe, the world's Redeemer,

first revealed his sacred face,

evermore and evermore!


3 Let the heights of heaven adore him;

angel hosts, his praises sing;

powers, dominions, bow before him,

and extol our God and King;

let no tongue on earth be silent,

every voice in concert ring,

evermore and evermore!


[Words: Marcus Aurelius Clemens Prudentius; tr. John Mason Neale and Henry Williams Baker. Music: Divinum mysterium, Sanctus trope, 11th cent.; adapt. Piae Cantiones, 1582. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #40-150-1.]



The People stand, as they are able, for the reading of the Gospel.

The Holy Gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ According to St. John (1:1-18)

Glory to you, Lord Christ.


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'") From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known.


The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Christ.



Hymn #82: Of the Father’s Love Begotten (verse 4)


4 Christ, to thee with God the Father,

and, O Holy Ghost, to thee,

hymn and chant and high thanksgiving,

and unwearied praises be;

honor, glory and dominion,

and eternal victory,

evermore and evermore!


[Words: Marcus Aurelius Clemens Prudentius; tr. John Mason Neale and Henry Williams Baker. Music: Divinum mysterium, Sanctus trope, 11th cent.; adapt. Piae Cantiones, 1582. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #40-150-1.]



The Sermon

“Becoming Like God” by the Rev. Guillermo A. Arboleda, Rector


Christmas is the most important holiday of the Christian year. There. I said it. I may not agree with myself when Easter rolls around, but right now, I’m standing on that statement. Why? Well, Christmas is what makes Christianity unique. It’s the main differentiator between us and our faithful Jewish and Muslim siblings. We all worship the same God, but Jews don’t believe that Jesus is the Messiah so they don’t celebrate his birth. Muslims believe that Jesus is the Messiah, but they interpret that to mean that he is one of God’s Prophet, not that he is God in the flesh. They believe that Jesus had an important role as a teacher and even that he will have an important role on the Day of Judgment, but they do not believe in the Incarnation. No other major world religion believes that God ever became a human being.


But Christians believe that Jesus really is the Word of God, who became flesh. We believe that he was in the beginning with God because he is God (John 1:1-2). We believe that all things came into being through the Word, who is Jesus (1:3). We believe that Jesus is the Lord God and is the Giver of Life (1:4-5). And we believe that this Word of God “became flesh and lived among us” (1:14). He was Mary’s firstborn Son and his name is Jesus. Because he lived among us, “we have seen his glory, as of a Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth” (1:14). 


And Christians believe that this Incarnation, this event in which God became flesh, was the first key to our salvation. John writes, “To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God” (1:12). That’s you and me and every other Christian who ever has lived or will live. We become children of God by receiving the Word, called Jesus, and believing in his name. And becoming children of God is our reason for existence. 


St. Athanasius of Alexandria was a bishop in Egypt in the 300s. He was part of the generation of Christians who wrote and adopted the Nicene Creed, which we say every Sunday. (Our siblings down in Brunswick named their church after Athanasius, an African saint.) At that time, many Christians weren’t sure whether Jesus really was God or whether he was just a man or something in between. But Athanasius wrote this short book called On the Incarnation that I had to read in seminary, and it has become one of my favorite early Christian writings to re-read over the years. Basically, Athanasius wants us to understand that Jesus is God in the flesh, that God really did come to live among us and reveal God’s glory on earth, because that is how we are saved. It is how it is possible for us to be healed and reconciled to God. He puts it this way: The Word of God “was made [human] that we might be made God” (St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation, 54). 


In other words, Jesus’ birth changed everything. God becoming human opened a two-way street between the Creator and us (the creation). God allows us to be transformed more and more into the image and likeness of God through the mystical power of Jesus, who is fully God and fully human. We can move closer to God because God moved closer to us. We can be fully loved and learn to love because Christ first loved us. 


Humanity has not improved morally in the 2000 years since Jesus was born. On the whole, we haven’t become more like God. And try as we might on our own, we can’t. Like the Psalm says, God “is not impressed by the might of a horse” and God “has no pleasure in the strength of a man” (Psalm 147:11). Our efforts aren’t enough to overcome our selfishness and greed or our sin-sick souls. We can’t just try our hardest and achieve nirvana. We cannot work our way into righteousness. There is a gap in our ability to love and live peacefully. 


That’s why God became a human being. Jesus makes such a change possible. He will heal us in the life to come, and he invites us to begin living like God here and now. He enables us to ultimately, supernaturally become like God. This is Good News for a broken world in which we still struggle and suffer and hate one another and harm one another. This is Good News for people who are oppressed or poor or marginalized. God has not abandoned us. God has not forsaken us. Instead, God has become one of us. And through Jesus Christ, God is inviting us into the very life of God who is love. Amen.


Bibliography



The Nicene Creed

[EOW1, p. 53]


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,

was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary

and became truly human.

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,

who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,

who 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: Jacqueline Bryant, Lazola Cope, Beryl Dandy, Eulalee Dandy, Enrique Davis, Deacon Ella Roundtree Davis, Natalie, and Olivia Duplechien, Charles Gordon, Marva Harris, David Jones, Beverly Kemp, Whitney Kennedy, Sada Maxwell, Charles McMillan, Russell Nails, Jeannette Outing, Laurence Waring, and Jewel Wheeler; for all those celebrating birthdays, especially Barbara Wilborn (12/31), James Williams (1/1), James Sanders (1/2), Margaret McAlister (1/4), Sarai Rhett (1/5), and Shirley Ann Way (1/6); and for anyone else 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

[EOW1, p. 56]


The peace of the Christ be always with you.

And also with you.



Parish Announcements


Christmas Season Worship Schedule:

  • Sunday, December 31, 2023

    • 6:00 PM Eve of the Holy Name - Ecumenical New Year’s Eve & Watch Night Vigil (in partnership with Holy Spirit Lutheran, Butler Memorial Presbyterian, and First Congregational Churches; the Rev. J. Jacob Sanders of Holy Spirit Lutheran Church preaching; collection for JUST)

  • Sunday, January 7, 2024

    • 1st Sunday After the Epiphany - Holy Communion


Hymn Sing-Along on Jan. 7 at 3 PM: Join us for a Hymn Sing-Along on Sunday, January 7 at 3:00 PM featuring music led by Mayor Van Johnson, Dr. Bertice Berry, Rev. Michael and the Brothers White, Fr. Guillermo Arboleda, and St. Matthew's Choir. Entry is free with a suggested donation of $15.


Emmaus House Service Day on Jan. 11: Join us for a Service Day at Emmaus House on Thursday, January 11, 2024 from 7:30 - 9:30 AM. Up to four people may sign up to volunteer on the bulletin board in the Parish Hall. We will volunteer on the 2nd Thursday of each month from now until at least May. See Deacon Davis or Fr. Arboleda for more details.


Savannah MLK Jr. Day Parade on Jan. 15: The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia and St. Matthew's Episcopal Church and Day Care invite you to join us for the annual Savannah Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade on Monday, January 15, 2024 at 10:00 AM. The parade route begins at East Broad Street and Liberty Street and ends in front of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, 1401 M. L. King Jr. Blvd, Savannah, GA 31415. We will have a walking group and a trolley-riding group. Marchers and riders may park cars at St. Matthew's beginning at 8:45 AM (enter the parking lot behind the church from Burroughs Street and W Anderson Street) and get dropped off at the parade starting point. The last shuttle will leave at 9:45. After the parade, St. Matthew's will host a brief worship service and a lunch reception. 


Grow and Glow in Grace Gear!: St. Matthew's is producing branded clothes and other merchandise with our new Grow and Glow in Grace mission logo! Order T-shirts for $25, embroidered Polo shirts for $40, Mugs for $15, Pens for $2 each, and more! All proceeds will go to the Building Capital Campaign (for remodeling the kitchen, preserving the stained glass windows, replacing the roof, and more)! Order forms are available in church now.

***Mugs, pens, shirts, polos, and more have arrived!***


T/W/Th Evening Prayer on Zoom/Facebook: On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, St. Matthew's invites you to pray Evening Prayer with us over Zoom at 5:00 PM. If you want to be in the Zoom call, please join by 4:55 PM using the link in the e-Newsletter.



The Offertory

[BCP, p. 376]


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: https://onrealm.org/StMattSav/-/give/now; 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.


Through Christ let us continually offer to God the sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge the Holy Name. But do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. [Hebrews 13:15-16]



Hymn #102: Once in Royal David’s City


1 Once in royal David's city stood

a lowly cattle shed, where a mother

laid her baby in a manger for his bed;

Mary was that mother mild

Jesus Christ her little child.


2 He came down to earth from heaven,

who is God and Lord of all, and his shelter

was a stable and his cradle

was a stall;

with the poor, the scorned, the lowly,

lived on Earth our Savior holy.


3 We, like Mary, rest confounded

that a stable should display heavens word,

the world's creator cradled there on Christmas day,

yet this child our Lord and brother,

brought us love for one another.


4 For he is our life long pattern

daily, when on earth he grew,

he was tempted, scorned, rejected,

tears and smiled like us he knew.

Thus he feels for all our sadness

and he shares n all our gladness.


5 And our eyes at last shall see him,

through his own redeeming love;

for that child who seemed so helpless

is our Lord in heaven above;

and he leads his children on to the place,

where he is gone.


6 Not in that poor lowly stable,

with the oxen standing round,

we shall see him; but in heaven,

where his saints his throne surround;

Christ, revealed to faithful eye,

set at God's right hand on high.


[Words: Latin, 14th cent.; tr. Ruth Fox Hume, alt.. Music: Puer natus in Bethlehem, plainsong. Mode 1. Benedictine Processional. 14th Cent.]



Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow


Praise God, Praise God, Praise God!

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

Circling through earth so all may grow

Vanquishing fear so all may give

Widening grace so all may live

Amen.


[Words: Eric H. F. Law, Copyright © 2015 Eric H. F. Law. Music: Old 100th, attributed to Louis Bourgeois, Public Domain. Reprinted with permission from Kaleidoscope Institute. All rights reserved.]



Eucharistic Prayer 1

[EOW1, p. 57]


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 our thanks and praise.


It is truly right, and good and joyful, to give you thanks, all-holy God, source of life and fountain of mercy because you sent your beloved Son to redeem us from sin and death, and to make us heirs in him of everlasting life; that when he shall come again in power and great triumph to judge the world, we may without shame or fear rejoice to behold his appearing. Therefore, joining with Angels and Archangels and with the faithful of every generation, we lift our voices with all creation as we sing:


Hymn S-130:

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

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

Heaven and earth are full, full of your glory

Hosanna in the highest! Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, of the Lord!

Hosanna in the highest! Hosanna in the highest!


[Music: Franz Peter Schubert from Deutsche Messe; arr. Richard Proulx, Copyright © 1985, 1989 G.I.A. Publications, Inc. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #00210. All rights reserved.]


The people stand or kneel.


Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of the universe and giver of life. You formed us in your own image and called us to dwell in your infinite love. You gave the world into our care that we might be your faithful stewards and show forth your bountiful grace.


But we failed to honor your image in one another and in ourselves; we would not see your goodness in the world around us; and so we violated your creation, abused one another, and rejected your love. Yet you never ceased to care for us, and prepared the way of salvation for all people.


Through Abraham and Sarah, you called us into covenant with you. You delivered us from slavery, sustained us in the wilderness, and raised up prophets to renew your promise of salvation. Then, in the fullness of time, you sent your eternal Word, made mortal flesh in Jesus. Born into the human family, and dwelling among us, he revealed your glory. Giving himself freely to death on the cross, he triumphed over evil, opening the way of freedom and life.


On the night before he died for us, Our Savior Jesus Christ took bread, and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his friends, and said: “Take, eat: This is my Body which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”


As supper was ending, Jesus 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 poured out for you and for all for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”


Therefore, we proclaim the mystery of faith:


LEV #258:

Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again.


[Music: Hezekiah Brinson, Jr., Copyright © 1990 Hezekiah Brinson, Jr. All Rights Reserved.]


Remembering his death and resurrection, we now present to you from your creation this bread and this wine. By your Holy Spirit, may they be for us the Body and Blood of our Savior Jesus Christ. Grant that we who share these gifts may be filled with the Holy Spirit and live as Christ’s Body in the world. Bring us into the everlasting heritage of your daughters and sons, that with Blessed Mary the Mother of God, Blessed Matthew our Patron, and all your saints, past, present, and yet to come, we may praise your Name for ever.


Through Christ and with Christ and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, to you be honor, glory, and praise, for ever and ever. AMEN.



LEV #264: The Lord’s Prayer

[Compare BCP, p. 364]


And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to sing,


Our Father, which 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 debts, as we forgive our debtors

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.


[Music: Albert Hay Malotte; arr. Fred Bock, Copyright © 1934 (renewed) G. Schirmer, Inc. All Rights Reserved.]



The Breaking of the Bread

Silence may be kept.



The Fraction Anthems

[EOW1, p. 69]


We break this bread to share in the Body of Christ.

We who are many are one body, for we all share in the one bread.


Hymn S-164:

Jesus, Lamb of God: have mercy on us

Jesus, Bearer of our Sins: have mercy on us

Jesus, Redeemer, Redeemer of the World:

Give us your peace, give us your peace!


[Words: Traditional. Music: Franz Peter Schubert from Deutsche Messe; arr. Richard Proulx, Copyright © 1985, 1989 G.I.A. Publications, Inc. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #00614. All rights reserved.]


Look! Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The Gifts of God for the people of God.



The Distribution of Holy Communion


All baptized Christians of any denomination are invited to come forward to participate fully in Communion. Baptized children may receive at the discretion of their parents.


You may receive Communion kneeling or standing. Please extend your hands forward to receive the Body of Christ (bread). If you would like to receive the Blood of Christ (wine), the minister will take the bread from your hand and dip (intinct) it in the wine for you, then place it in your mouth. If you would only like to receive the bread, you may consume it and return to your seat.


If you need gluten-free bread for Communion, please raise your hand when you are at the altar rail.


If you would not like to receive Communion for any reason, please cross your arms over your chest, and the Priest will say a blessing over you.


If you are worshipping online, you may pray to receive spiritual communion using the following prayer:

In union, O Lord, with your faithful people at every altar of your Church, where the Holy Eucharist is now being celebrated, I desire to offer to you praise and thanksgiving. I remember your death, Lord Christ; I proclaim your resurrection; I await your coming in glory. Since I cannot receive you today in the Sacrament of your Body and Blood, I beseech you to come spiritually into my heart. Cleanse and strengthen me with your grace, Lord Jesus, and let me never be separated from you. May I live in you, and you in me, in this life and in the life to come. Amen.



Hymn #78: O Little Town of Bethlehem


1. 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.


2. For Christ is born of Mary;

and gathered all above,

while mortals sleep, the angels keep

their watch of wondering love.

O morning stars, together

proclaim the holy birth!

and praises sing to God the King,

and peace to men on earth.


3. How silently, how silently,

the wondrous Gift is given!

So God imparts to human hearts

the blessings of his heaven.

No ear may hear his coming,

but in this world of sin,

where meek souls will receive him, still

the dear Christ enters in.


4. Where children pure and happy

pray to the blessed Child,

where misery cries out to thee,

Son of the mother mild;

where charity stand watching

and faith holds wide the door,

the dark night wakes, the glory breaks,

and Christmas comes once more.


5. O holy Child of Bethlehem,

descend to us, we pray;

cast out our sin and enter in,

be born in us today.

We hear the Christmas angels

the great glad tidings tell;

O come to us, abide with us,

our Lord Emmanuel!


[Words: Phillips Brooks. Music: Forest Green, English melody; adapt. and harm. Ralph Vaughan Williams. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #BP2120.]



Hymn #101: Away in a Manger


1. Away in a manger, no crib for his bed,

the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.

The stars in the bright 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 side until 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 live with thee there.


[Words: Traditional Carol. Public Domain. Music: Cradle Song, melody William James Kirkpatrick. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #94878]



The Post-Communion Prayer

[EOW1, p. 69; Enriching our Worship 2 (2000), pp. 56-57]


Let us pray.


For In-Person Worshippers:

God of abundance, you have fed us with the bread of life and cup of salvation; you have united us with Christ and one another; and you have made us one with all your people in heaven and on earth. Now send us forth in the power of your Spirit, that we may proclaim your redeeming love to the world and continue forever in the risen life of Christ our Savior. 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

[BOS22, p. 11]


May Almighty God, who sent his Son to take our nature upon him, bless you in this holy season, scatter the darkness of sin, and brighten your heart with the light of his holiness. Amen.

May God, who sent his angels to proclaim the glad news of the Savior’s birth, fill you with joy, and make you heralds of the Gospel. Amen.

May God, who in the Word made flesh joined heaven to earth and earth to heaven, give you his peace and favor. Amen.

And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you forever. Amen.



Hymn #93: Angels, From the Realms of Glory


1. Angels, from the realms of glory,

wing your flight o'er all the earth;

ye, who sang creation's story,

now proclaim Messiah's birth:


Refrain:

Come and worship, come and worship

Worship Christ, the newborn King.


2. Shepherds in the field abiding,

watching o'er your flocks by night,

God with you is now residing;

yonder shines the infant Light: [Refrain]


3. Sages, leave your contemplations;

brighter visions beam afar;

seek the great Desire of nations;

ye have seen his natal star: [Refrain]


4. Saints before the altar bending,

watching long in hope and fear,

suddenly the Lord, descending,

in his temple shall appear: [Refrain]


[Words: James Montgomery. Music: Regent Square, Henry Thomas Smart. ]



The Dismissal

[BCP, p. 366]


Let us go forth in the name of Christ!

Thanks be to God!




The Parish Prayer List


PRAYER LIST: Jacqueline Bryant, Lazola Cope, Beryl Dandy, Eulalee Dandy, Enrique Davis, Deacon Ella Roundtree Davis, Natalie, and Olivia Duplechien, Charles Gordon, Marva Harris, David Jones, Beverly Kemp, Whitney Kennedy, Sada Maxwell, Charles McMillan, Russell Nails, Jeannette Outing, Laurence Waring, and Jewel Wheeler


BIRTHDAYS: Barbara Wilborn (12/31), 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.




Permissions and Credits: This service is reproduced from Enriching Our Worship 1 (EOW1), 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. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture readings are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible.


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