December 24, 2022 – Nativity of the Lord / Christmas Eve

Lectionary Readings   -   Gathering   -  Word  -   Eucharist   -   Sending   -   Music and Art

Lectionary Readings

Isaiah 9:2–7
Light shines on people in darkness; a child has been born for us.

Psalm 96
Sing a new song to the Lord, all the earth; declare God’s glory.

Titus 2:11–14
The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all.

Luke 2:1–14 (15–20)
Jesus is born in Bethlehem; angels tell shepherds the good news.

— Gathering —

Opening Sentences

In the holy darkness of this night,
amid labor pains and newborn cries,
angel songs and tremors of fear,
tears of relief and looks of amazement,
our Savior takes his first breath.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel has come to us.

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song

Thanksgiving For Baptism

At the baptismal font:

The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
O Lord our God, we give you thanks
for the wonder and love you offer us
through the gift of our baptism—
your Word made flesh among us,
a child and Savior born to us,
good news of great joy for all.
By the power of your Holy Spirit,
poured out upon us in baptism,
let us be born anew from above
so that we may give glory to you
and live as your beloved children;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Confession and Pardon​

At the baptismal font:
God came into a broken world,
and we know all too well
the ways it is still broken and hurting.
Let us confess the ways we have done harm,
that we may be part of the healing.

you have given us a gift that we can never deserve.
You do not ask us to be worthy.
You do not ask us to earn your love.
Yet the ways we have fallen short
threaten to overtake us.
But we know we can come to you,
even on this holiest of nights,
to seek the forgiveness you offer so freely,
grateful for your mercy.

Lifting water from the font:
The grace of God has appeared,
bringing salvation to us all!
With Christ’s birth comes forgiveness and redemption.
Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom God favors!

— Word —

Prayer for Illumination

At the lectern or pulpit:
Gracious God, by the gift of your Holy Spirit
show us the Word made flesh—
good news of great joy for all—
so that we may sing with the angels:
glory in the highest and peace on earth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Before the readings:
Treasure these words
and ponder them in your heart.
Luke 2:19

After the readings:
And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
Thanks be to God.
John 1:14


Ascription of Praise

After the sermon:
Glory to God in the highest
and peace to God’s people on earth! Amen.
Luke 2:14

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song

Affirmation of Faith

The one sufficient revelation of God
is Jesus Christ,
the Word of God incarnate,
to whom the Holy Spirit
bears unique and authoritative witness
through the Holy Scriptures,
which are received and obeyed
as the word of God written.
Adapted from the Confession of 1967, 9.27

Prayers of Intercession

Remember God’s message: Do not be afraid!
Therefore we pray with hope and joy.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

With hope and joy, we pray for the church . . .
Lead us in the song of your angels,
giving glory to you in the highest heaven,
and proclaiming peace to your people on earth.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

With hope and joy, we pray for the earth . . .
Heal the damage we have done to your world,
so that the heavens may be glad, the earth rejoice,
and the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

With hope and joy, we pray for all nations . . .
Bring an end to the tramping of boots
and silence the trumpets of war;
let all nations rejoice in the harvest of peace.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

With hope and joy, we pray for this community . . .
Give welcome to those who are strangers,
and shelter to those who have no place to sleep.
Let all your children be counted among the blessed.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

With hope and joy, we pray for loved ones . . .
Let your light shine on those who wait in darkness.
Heal the sick and help all who suffer,
so that they may rejoice in your saving love.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We ask these things with joy, O God,
confident in the knowledge of your goodness;
and we ask these things with hope,
knowing that our redeemer is here—
for to us is born a Savior, the Messiah, the Lord,
Jesus Christ, in whose holy name we pray. Amen.
Luke 2:10–11

— Eucharist —

Invitation to Offering

At the communion table:
From the fullness of God
we have all received grace upon grace.
Let us offer our lives to the Lord.
John 1:16

Prayer of Dedication

At the communion table:
For gifts abundant and for grace abounding,
we give you thanks, generous God.
Bless the gifts we bring today.
Use these gifts and our lives
to be your gift of grace to others. Amen.

Great Thanksgiving

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.

Blessed are you, O Lord our God:
When we were living in deep darkness, you sent us your light—
a child called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
All authority in heaven and on earth rests upon his shoulders.

Therefore we praise you, joining the song
of the universal church and the heavenly choir:
A Sanctus (“Holy, holy, holy”) is sung.

Blessed is Jesus Christ, our Savior:
Born in a stable, he is our Good Shepherd, and your holy Lamb.
Lying in a manger, he is the bread of life, food for our souls.
Praised by the heavenly host, he is the hope and joy of all the earth.
The words of institution are included here.

Remembering your goodness and grace,
we offer ourselves to you with gratitude
as we share this joyful feast.
A Memorial Acclamation (e.g., “Christ has died”) is sung.

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us and upon this bread and cup;
make us one in the body and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Teach us to renounce worldly passions and frivolous pursuits.
In this present age, let our lives be godly, upright, and self-controlled,
while we await the coming in glory of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Through the Lord Jesus Christ,
in the unity of the Spirit,
we bless you, God of glory,
now and forever.
An Amen is sung.

Lord’s Prayer


Breaking the Bread


Communion of the People


Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song


Prayer after Communion

God of shepherds and sheep,
we give you thanks
that you have gathered us here,
revealed to us your glory,
and fed us with your mercy.
Now send us out
with good news for all—
for us a child is born:
Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

— Sending —

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song


Blessing and Charge

At the doors of the church:
The loving kindness of the Lord our God,
the grace of Jesus Christ our Savior,
and the renewing power of the Holy Spirit
be with you all. Alleluia!
Titus 3:4–7

Go and tell this good news of great joy:
to us a Savior is born. Amen.
Luke 2:10–11

“On the Eve of the Birth of Christ”

Michael Reiser, 1869

Additional Materials

Congregational Song


  • O Come, All Ye Faithful (OEG) ADESTE FIDELES GTG 133, PH 41/42
  • Once in Royal David’s City (G) IRBY GTG 140, PH 49
  • Angels, from the Realms of Glory (G) REGENT SQUARE GTG 143, PH 22
  • Chinese Lantern Carol (OEG) LANTERN STAR WAS 3054


  • The People Who Walked in Darkness (O) ISAIAH 9 GTG 86
  • Before the Marvel of This Night (EG) MARVEL GTG 125
  • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (OEG) WE’LL WALK IN THE LIGHT GTG 127
  • Christmas Candle (OE) CANDLE CAROL Rejoice in God, K. Lee Scott, MSM


  • Still, Still, Still (OE) STILL, STILL, STILL GTG 124, PH 47
  • He Came Down (EG) HE CAME DOWN GTG 137
  • Raise a Song of Gladness (G) JUBILATE DEO GTG 155
  • Hunger Carol (OEG) SMOKEY MOUNTAIN STB 144


  • Love Has Come (EG) BRING A TORCH GTG 110
  • On Christmas Night All Christians Sing (EG) SUSSEX CAROL GTG 112
  • Silent Night, Holy Night! (OEG) STILLE NACHT GTG 122, PH 60
  • O Holy Night (OEG) CANTIQUE DE NOEL AAHH 201

Psalms and Canticles


  • Sing to the Lord a New Song [ES IST EIN’ ROS’ ENTSRUNGEN]; PAS 96F
  • O Sing a New Song to the Lord [GONFALON ROYAL]; GTG 304, PH 216
  • Sing a Song to God (Ay, Ay, Salidummay) [SALIDUMMAY]; PAS 96E


  • O Sing a New Song; GTG 639, PH 217, PAS 96H
  • Today Is Born Our Savior; G3 68
  • Today Is Born Our Savior [VOM HIMMEL HOCH]; HTP1 98
  • Sing to the Lord; PP 174
  • God, We Honor You / Dios, te honramos; SSS 647–648

Organ Music

  • “Noels,” Christmas Music for the Organ, Claude Balbastre, Kalmus (M)
  • “The Cradle Song,” Three Taiwanese Folksongs, Chelsea Chen, WLE (ME)
  • “Gentle Mary Laid Her Child,” Bethlehem’s Light, Benjamin M. Culli, CON (ME)
  • “Toccata: Angels We Have Heard on High,” Suite Noel, Matthew H. Corl, HWG (M)

Anthems for Adult Choirs

  • “Fill the Sky,” Nancy Gifford Humphreys, VocalEssence Music Press, SATB, acap (M)
  • “Mary Had a Baby,” William Dawson, KJO, SATB, acap, solo (M)
  • “Xicochi,” Gaspar Fernandes, BorderCrossSing, SATB, keybd, perc (M)
  • “The Angels and the Shepherds,” Stephen Paulus, Stephen Paulus Music, SATB, acap, hb or pno, fl (ME)
  • “I Am So Glad Each Christmas Eve,” Peder Knudsen, arr. John Ferguson, AF, SATB, org (M)
  • “Sussex Carol,” arr. Elaine Hagenberg, BP, SATB, pno, opt orch (M)
  • “Christmas Night,” Kim Andre Arnesen, BH, SATB, pno, C inst (ME)
  • “Psallite,” Michael Praetorius, CPDL, SATB, acap (ME)
  • “Still, Still, Still,” arr. Mack Wilberg, OUP, 2 pt mx, pno 4 hand (E)

Handbell Music

  • “Love Came Down at Christmas,” Jason Krug, 3–6 oct. hb, opt 3–6 oct hc, BP, HB522, Level 2+
  • “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” Karen Buckwalter, 3–7 oct hb, BP, HB645, Level 3
  • “Still, Still, Still,” Jason Krug, 3–6 oct hb, opt 3–6 oct hc, opt C inst, LOR, 20/1987L, Level 2


  • Joy to the World, Republic of Congo (VDL)
  • On the Eve of the Birth of Christ, Michael Reiser, 1869 (VDL)
  • Annunciation to the Shepherds, Heinrich Vogeler, 1902 (VDL)
  • The Census at Bethlehem, Pieter Brueghel the Elder (VDL)
  • Mary and Joseph, Scott Laumann (EYE)