December 24, 2023

We are happy to know that many people new to worship in the Episcopal Church come to St. Stephen’s, and we welcome you!

Throughout the service, the people’s responses are in italics. If you would like to learn more about the parts of our worship, click on the titles of each section.

Prelude

The people stand for the Processional Hymn.

Processional Hymn #83 (Hymnal 1982)

Lucernaria for Christmas

Blessed be God, One Holy and Undivided Trinity.
And Blessed be God’s Kingdom, Now and Forever.

The Word was made flesh, alleluia, alleluia.
The Word was made flesh, alleluia, alleluia.

And dwelt among us:
Alleluia, alleluia.

Glory to the One, Holy, and Undivided Trinity.
The Word was made flesh, alleluia, alleluia.Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God, alleluia:
God has shone upon us, alleluia.

Song of Praise #96 verse 1 (Hymnal 1982) Angels We Have Heard on High

Collect of the Day

God 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.

The people sit.

A Reading from Isaiah

The people walking in darkness are seeing a brilliant light — upon those who dwell in a land of deep shadows light is shining! God, you have made the nation greater — you have brought them abundant joy!They celebrate in your presence as with the harvest celebrations, or as warriors celebrate when dividing spoils. For the yoke that burdened them, the weight on their shoulders, the rod of their oppressors — you have shattered it, as you did at the defeat of Midian. For every boot that tramped in battle, every cloak that was dragged through blood, is now used as fuel for the fire.

For a child is born to us, an heir is given us, upon whose shoulders dominion will rest. This One shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Strength of God, Eternal Protector, Champion of Peace. This dominion, and this peace, will grow without end, with David’s throne and realm sustained with justice and fairness, now and forever. The zeal of the God of Israel will accomplish it!

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

Hymn #99 (Hymnal 1982) Go Tell It On the Mountain

A Reading from Titus

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.

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

The people stand for the Gospel

Gospel Hymn #102 (Hymnal 1982) Once in Royal David’s City

The Gospel

The Holy Gospel of Our Savior Jesus Christ According To Luke
Glory to You, O Christ.

In those days, Caesar Augustus published a decree ordering a census of the whole Roman world. This first census took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All the people were instructed to go back to the towns of their birth to register. And so Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to “the city of David”—Bethlehem, in Judea, because Joseph was of the house and lineage of David; he went to register with Mary, his espoused wife, who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her delivery. She gave birth to her firstborn, a son; she put him in a simple cloth wrapped like a receiving blanket, and laid him in a feeding trough for cattle, because there was no room for them at the inn.

There were shepherds in the area living in the fields and keeping night watch by turns over their flock. The angel of God appeared to them, and the glory of God shone around them; they were very much afraid. The angel said to them, “You have nothing to fear! I come to proclaim good news to you — news of a great joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in David’s city, a savior — the Messiah — has been born to you. Let this be a sign to you: you’ll find an infant wrapped in a simple cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in high heaven! And on earth, peace to those on whom God’s favor rests.”

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see this event that God has made known to us.” They hurried and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger; once they saw this, they reported what they had been told concerning the child. All who heard about it were astonished at the report given by the shepherds. Mary treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart. The shepherds went away glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as they had been told.

The Gospel of Our Savior.
Praise to you, O Christ.

The people sit for the Homily.

The Homily

The people stand for the Nicene Creed.

The Nicene Creed 

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.

Please stand or kneel for the Prayers of the People.

The Prayers of the People

We pray for your holy Catholic Church;
That we all may be one.

Grant that every member of the Church may truly and humbly serve you;
That your Name may be glorified by all people.

We pray for all bishops, priests, and deacons;
That they may be faithful ministers of your Word and Sacraments.

We pray for all who govern and hold authority in the nations of the world;
That there may be justice and peace on the earth.

Give us grace to do your will in all that we undertake;
That our works may find favor in your sight.

Have compassion on those who suffer from any grief or trouble;
That they may be delivered from their distress.

Give to the departed eternal rest.
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

We praise you for your saints who have entered into joy;
May we also come to share in your heavenly kingdom.

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

Celebrant: Most merciful and loving God, you have made this day holy by the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, and by the child-bearing of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Grant that we your people may enter with joy into the celebration of this day, and may also rejoice for ever as your adopted children; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Please stand for the peace.

The Peace

The peace of God be with you.
And also with you.

Offertory Anthem: Laudamus Te

Laudamus te, benedicimus te,
Adoramus te, glorificamus te.
Gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam.
[We praise thee, we bless thee;
We worship thee, we glorify thee.
We give thanks to thee for thy great glory.]

Doxology

Praise God from whom all blessing flow, Praise God all creatures here below, Praise God above, ye heavenly hosts, Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

The Holy Eucharist

It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. Because you gave Jesus Christ, your only Son, to be born for us; who, by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, was made perfect Man of the flesh of the Virgin Mary his mother; so that we might be delivered from the bondage of sin, and receive power to become your children. Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven, who for ever sing this hymn to proclaim the glory of your Name:

The Sanctus

Glory and honor and praise to you, holy and living God. To deliver us from the power of sin and death and to reveal the riches of your grace, you looked with favor upon Mary, your willing servant, that she might conceive and bear a son, Jesus the holy child of God. Living among us, Jesus loved us. He broke bread with outcasts and sinners, healed the sick, and proclaimed good news to the poor. He yearned to draw all the world to himself yet we were heedless of his call to walk in love. Then, the time came for him to complete upon the cross the sacrifice of his life, and to be glorified by you.

On the night before he died for us, Jesus was at table with his friends. He took bread, gave thanks to you, broke it, and gave it to them, 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. Again, he gave thanks to you, 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.”

Now gathered at your table, O God of all creation, and remembering Christ, crucified and risen, who was and is and is to come, we offer to you our gifts of bread and wine, and ourselves, a living sacrifice. Pour out your Spirit upon these gifts that they may be the Body and Blood of Christ. Breathe your Spirit over the whole earth and make us your new creation, the Body of Christ given for the world you have made.

In the fullness of time bring us, with all your saints, from every tribe and language and people and nation, to feast at the banquet prepared from the foundation of the world. 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.

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

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Alleluia! Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us;
Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia.

The Celebrant offers the gifts to the people, saying

The Gifts of God for the People of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.

The people are invited to come forward for communion.

Communion Hymn #82 (Hymnal 1982) Of the Father’s love begotten

Postcommunion Prayer

Eternal God, you have graciously accepted us as living members of 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 Savior. Amen. 

Hymn #111 (Hymnal 1982) Silent Night

Blessing

May Christ, who by his Incarnation gathered into one things earthly and heavenly, fill you with his joy and peace; and the blessing of the One, Holy, and Undivided Trinity, be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.

Closing Hymn #100 (Hymnal 1982) Joy to the World!

Dismissal

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Postlude