Christmas Eve: Bulletin & Readings for December 24, 2021

Bulletin for Christmas

This bulletin includes the order of service for the Season of Christmas. The items in bold italics are intended for the congregation’s response.

Opening Hymn

In the name of God: Creator, Redeemer, and Giver of life. Amen.

Call to Worship and Confession of Sin

Wherever you are, God invites you to hear Her Word of liberation and to celebrate Her feast of communion. Bring your dreams and your musings, your fears and your anger, your trauma and your despair. Come from your sofas, your desks, your porches, your kitchen tables, so that your individual places become God’s beloved community, the living, breathing Body of Christ. 

Jesus welcomes everyone to God’s table. Are you ready to meet God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit? 

We’re ready!  Loving God, you bring order out of chaos in the world and in our lives. Meet with us in Christ today, change us and send us out to fill your world with love and light and laughter, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We were walking in cold and darkness. Now we dwell in the warmth of your light. Jesus, you are the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation: Lord, have mercy.   

Lord, have mercy.

Jesus, you are God’s true child, born of Mary: Christ, have mercy. 

Christ, have mercy.

Jesus, you are Word made flesh, full of grace and truth: Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Silence

Radiant God, you send your light into dark and shackled lives; shine in our hearts and set us free to praise you, now and for ever. Amen.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Let us pray.

Collect of the Day

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 Ministry of the Word

The First Reading

Isaiah 9:2-7 Reader:  Keishna

2The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. 3You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. 4For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. 6For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Psalm

Psalm 96 Reader:  Helen

1 Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the whole earth.

2 Sing to the Lord and bless his Name; proclaim the good news of his salvation from day to day.

3 Declare his glory among the nations and his wonders among all peoples.

4 For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; he is more to be feared than all gods.

5 As for all the gods of the nations, they are but idols; but it is the Lord who made the heavens.

6 Oh, the majesty and magnificence of his presence! Oh, the power and the splendor of his sanctuary!

7 Ascribe to the Lord, you families of the peoples;  ascribe to the Lord honor and power.

8 Ascribe to the Lord the honor due his Name; bring offerings and come into his courts.

9 Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; let the whole earth tremble before him.

10 Tell it out among the nations: “The Lord is King! he has made the world so firm that it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.”

11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;let the sea thunder and all that is in it; let the field be joyful and all that is therein.

12 Then shall all the trees of the wood shout for joy before the Lord when he comes, when he comes to judge the earth.

13 He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with his truth.

The Second Reading 

Titus 2:11-14 Reader:  Keishna

11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, 12training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, 13while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 14He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

The Gospel:Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)

1In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 4Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

8In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” [15When 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.” 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.]

Sermon – The Rev. Fletcher Harper

The Prayers

A Celtic Creed

We believe in God above us, maker and sustainer of all life, of sun and moon, of water and earth, of male and female. 

We believe in God beside us, Jesus Christ, the word made flesh, born of a woman, servant of the poor, tortured and nailed to a tree. A man of sorrows, he died forsaken. He descended into the earth to the place of death. 

On the third day he rose from the tomb. He ascended into heaven, to be everywhere present, unleashing a universal realm of love that will come on earth. 

We believe in God within us, the Holy Spirit of fire, life-giving breath of the Church, Spirit of healing and forgiveness, source of resurrection and of eternal life. Amen.

Prayers of the People

Reader: Lisa D

Grant our prayer.

God of darkness and silence, you have pierced the quiet of this night by the utterance of your Word in our flesh. May your word of compassion and reconciliation resound in us and through us.  God of love,

In this holy night angels proclaimed the peace of your unconquered Sun of righteousness. Strengthen all who work for peace and justice. God of love,

Grant our prayer.

On this holy night you came to us as a child cradled in a borrowed bed of straw as there was no room in the inn. Open our hearts to the needs of the homeless and the hungry. God of love,

Grant our prayer.

In this holy night shepherds and outcasts heard your good news. Give us grace to spread your gospel of joy and liberation. God of love,

Grant our prayer.

In this holy night we rejoice at the coming of this time of re-creation. Be with those who travel, enrich our rejoicing, and strengthen the bonds between us. God of love,

Grant our prayer.

On this holy night Christians throughout the world are celebrating Christ’s birth. Unite us in one family that we may shine with the one light that scatters all our darkness. God of love,

Grant our prayer.

In this holy night your living Word leaped down, shedding light on all who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death. Give strength and peace to all who suffer in body, mind, or spirit. God of love,

Grant our prayer.

In this holy night heaven and earth embrace and in your true child you give us power to be your children. Fulfil in your love all who have gone before us in the faith. May we, like them, remain faithful to the mystery of the Word made flesh and live in your eternal light. God of love,

Grant our prayer.

Hear these prayers we bring to you and fulfil your purposes in us in the name of Jesus, your incarnate Word. Amen.

The Peace

Announcements

Christmas Services

Services will be held in-person and online:

– Christmas Day – Sat. Dec. 25, 10:15am  MORNING PRAYER

– Sun. Dec. 26 – 9:30am MORNING PRAYER

Upcoming Collections

We will be collecting the following over the next few months:

– Gently Used Coats (Thru Dec) – give to Helen Allen

– Children’s Hats, Gloves & Scarves (Dec-Jan) – give to Janet Reineke

The Town of Secaucus food pantry collects items year-round, drop off available at the Community Center at 145 Front St. 

The Holy Communion

Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God.   Ephesians 5:2

During the Offertory, a hymn, psalm, or anthem may be sung.

Doxology

(Words: Isaac Watts (1674-1748), para. of Psalm 117; Music: Old 100th, melody from Pseaumes octante trois de David, 1551, alt.; harm. after Louis Bourgeois (1510?-1561?); Licensed for Use: CCLI Copyright License 20716203; CCLI Streaming License 20716210

Representatives of the congregation bring the people’s offerings of bread and wine, and money or other gifts, to the deacon or celebrant. The people stand while the offerings are presented and placed on the Altar.

The Great Thanksgiving

The Lord is here. 

God’s Spirit is with us.

Lift up your hearts.  

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.  

It is right to offer thanks and praise.

It is right indeed that we should praise you, God of love, our source and our fulfillment, for you create all things, and in you we live and move and have our being. Your wonder is manifest in land and sea and sky. When the times had at last grown full and the earth had ripened in abundance, you made us in your image for yourself. And even though we turn from you, again and again you call us to yourself, and in every age, promise liberation. As a mother tenderly gathers her children, you embraced a people as your own to rear them in your way of compassionate love. From your own being you sent Jesus among us, incarnate of the Holy Spirit and born of Mary our sister. Jesus revealed your care for all you have made, and showed us your way of reconciliation.

Looking forward to the joy of new life Jesus suffered the pangs of the cross and in rising again became the first-born of a renewed humanity. You sent your Holy Spirit and gave birth to us, your church. Your Spirit stays to nurture and to guide us. Now we join hands around your table, and with all creation we hymn your praise for your unending love, as we sing,

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

To you indeed be glory, almighty God, because on the night before he died, your Son, Jesus Christ, took bread; when he had given you thanks, he broke it, gave it to his disciples, and said:

Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you; do this to remember me.

After supper he took the cup; when he had given you thanks, he gave it to them and said:

This cup is the new covenant in my blood poured out for you; do this as often as you drink it to remember me.

And so in this great sacrament we celebrate and proclaim the mystery of our faith.

Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come in glory.

Therefore, loving God, recalling now Christ’s death and resurrection, we ask you to accept this our sacrifice of praise.

Send your Holy Spirit upon us and our celebration, that we may be fed with the body and blood of your Son and be filled with your life and goodness. Strengthen us to do your work, and to be your body in the world. Unite us in Christ and give us your peace. Through your Holy Spirit, burning as a flame, gentle as a dove, may we who receive these gifts live lives of justice, love, and prayer, and be a voice for those who are not heard. In union with your whole church we worship you, O God, in songs of everlasting praise. Blessing, honor and glory be yours, here and everywhere, now and forever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

And now, in the words that Jesus taught us, we pray:

Our Father, who art in heaven. hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kindgom 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.
Lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory,
forever and ever.  Amen.

Breaking of the Bread

Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.

Therefore let us keep the feast.

These are the gifts of God for you, the people of God.

The congregation receives communion.

(AT THE COMMUNION: We encounter the Real Presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in this Sacrament of Holy Communion. All who desire a closer relationship with God are encouraged to come forward: for a Blessing or, if you are baptized, for the Bread and Wine. NOTE: Until all restrictions have been lifted, only the bread is offered for communion.)

(Please wait for an usher until forming a distanced line in the aisle and come forward to receive from the priest.)

Prayer after Communion

Gracious God, you are the author and giver of all good things. We give you thanks for the gift of life, for the meal we shared, and for reconnecting us as your people. Keep us nourished by this meal and this community. Keep us grounded in the ways in which you feed us, and in the ways we are all hungry. We pray these things through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Blessing

Closing Hymn

Dismissal

Prayer List

Margaret, Harold, Ellen, Karen, Kya, Rayne, Linda, Tom (and his wife, Erica), the Rodriguez and Principe families, Lynda, Deepa, Caroline, Georgia, Cathleen, Robert, Marcia, Lew, Nancy, Maria & her mother

Ministers in this Service

Service Leader: Fletcher

Altar Guild/Flowers: Susan J

Verger/Tech Vergers: Hank & Shanna

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