December 24, 2024 – 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

A child has been born for us.
A great light shines
in the middle of our darkness.
A child has been born for us,
establishing God’s justice
and breaking every yoke.
A child has been born for us,
whose reign will have no end.
A child has been born for us,
and we worship him together:
Wonder Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Hallelujah!

Prayer of the Day

Jesus Christ, born in our midst,
we seek your good news as one people.
In your life and by your birth
we receive your grace appearing,
we experience your salvation nearing,
and we feel your great light dawning.
Draw us deeper into this mystery
in the stillness and silence
of this Christmas Eve.

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.
Everlasting God,
your mercy rains down on us in Jesus Christ.
We thank you for our new life through baptism.
We are renewed like watered gardens
and our lives bloom with your incarnate love.
Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Confession and Pardon

At the baptismal font:
The holy child of Bethlehem came to cast out sin
and to bring to us the gift of salvation.
Let us open our hearts to receive
what God seeks to give.

Holy God,
you have come among us in Jesus Christ,
hallowing our humanity
and embodying love.
We confess that we have turned
from the path Jesus has marked,
failing to claim all you intend for us,
withholding love from our neighbors
and ourselves.
Forgive us.
Be born anew in us,
that our lives might reflect
Christ’s radiant light.

Lifting water from the font:
Peace on earth, mercy mild.
God and sinners reconciled.
This is good news!
In Jesus Christ we are forgiven!

— Word —

Prayer for Illumination

At the lectern or pulpit:
O God,
through your mighty acts
we receive grace upon grace.
From your fullness,
feed us with your life-giving Word,
that our lives, like bread,
may feed a hungry world. Amen.


Before the readings:
Listen for the mystery of God’s grace. 
Ephesians 3:2–3 

After the readings: 
The mystery of the ages 
revealed to the people of God. 
Thanks be to God. 
Ephesians 3:9–10 


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

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,

let us pray for the life of the world,

saying: O Christ, our light, hear our prayer.  


We pray for the church . . .

With Mary, help us to treasure and ponder

the gift that has been given to us,

a gift of good news and great joy for all.

O Christ, our light, hear our prayer.    


We pray for the world . . .

With the prophets, help us to proclaim

the promise of your peace for all nations

and your justice for all people.

O Christ, our light, hear our prayer.  


We pray for this community . . .

With the shepherds, help us to keep watch

over those entrusted to our care

and all who need protection this night.

O Christ, our light, hear our prayer.  


We pray for loved ones . . .

With the angels, help us to offer

signs of hope, comfort, and joy

for all who live in fear.

O Christ, our light, hear our prayer.  


Lord Jesus Christ, hope of the world,

help us to bear witness to your light

so that all may believe and have life in you;

in your holy name we pray. Amen.

— Eucharist —

Invitation to Offering

At the communion table:
Rejoicing in the birth
of Christ our Savior,
we give to God
what we first received from God,
the gifts of our lives.

Prayer of Dedication

At the communion table:
God Most High, receive the gifts of our lives
as an offering of gratitude for your grace.
Overshadow us with your Holy Spirit
and let it be with us according to your word,
for nothing is impossible with you. Amen.
Luke 1:35–38; 1 Corinthians 1:4

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

At the communion table:
We sing a new song to you, Lord.
Through this bread and wine
we receive your joy.
All of creation praises you,
joining with glad voices
to share the good news
of Christ’s saving birth.
We give thanks
for the Word you first sang,
Jesus, our Lord. Amen.

— Sending —

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song


Blessing and Charge

At the doors of the church:
May the God of glory, 
the Word of life, 
and the Spirit of truth 
bless you all, 
now and forever. Alleluia! 
John 1:14 

Whatever you do, in word or deed, 
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
giving thanks to God. Amen. 
Colossians 3:17

The Nativity


Additional Materials

Congregational Song


  • On Christmas Night All Christians Sing (OG) SUSSEX CAROL GTG 112

  • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (G) MENDELSSOHN GTG 119, PH 31, 32

  • Angels, from the Realm of Glory (G) REGENT SQUARE GTG 143, PH 22

  • En Belén nació Jesús / Christ is Born in Bethlehem (G) MICHAEL SSS 82


  • The People Who Walked in Darkness (O) ISAIAH 9 GTG 86

  • It Came Upon the Midnight Clear (OG) CAROL GTG 123, PH 38

  • Before the Marvel of This Night (G) MARVEL GTG 125

  • Star-Child (G) STAR-CHILD Shirley Erena Murray STF 2095

  • Carol Our Christmas (E) REVERSI Shirley Erena Murray NCH 141


  • Where Shepherds Lately Knelt (G) MANGER SONG GTG 120

  • Away in a Manger (G) CRADLE SONG, MUELLER GTG 114, 115, PH 24, 25

  • Still, Still, Still (G) STILL STILL STILL GTG 124, PH 47


  • Angels We Have Heard on High (G) GLORIA GTG 113, PH 23

  • Silent Night, Holy Night (G) STILLE NACHT GTG 122, PH 60

  • There’s a Star in the East (G) FOLLOW GTG 135, PH 50

Psalms and Canticles

Psalm 96

  • 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

Organ Music

  • “Pastorale” (On Christmas Night), SUSSEX CAROL, A Time to Dance: Settings for Organ, David Evan Thomas, AF (M)

  • “IN DULCI JUBILO,” BWV 751, att. Johann Michael Bach, (E)

  • “IN DULCI JUBILO,” BWV 729, J. S. Bach, (M)

  • “In Quiet Joy,” from 79 Chorales, Op. 28, Marcel Dupré, HWG (ME)

  • “Gaudete! Gaudete! Christus Es Natus!” Gladsome Tidings: Organ Settings for Christmas, Aaron Shows, AF (MA)

  • “Noël Grand Jeu et Duo,” Livre de Noëls, Louis-Claude Daquin, (M)

Piano Music

  • “Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow,” FOLLOW, Carols A to Z, Faye Lopez, LOR (M)

  • “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,” GOD REST YOU MERRY, Christmas Memories, Book 3, Melody Bober, ALF (ME)

  • “Sing We Now of Christmas,” NOEL NOUVELET, Nativity Scenes, Timothy Shaw, MSM (M)

Anthems for Adult Choirs

  • “When Christ Was Born of Mary Free (Christo Paremus Cantica),” Daniel Burton, HAL, SATB, org (M)

  • “The Snow Lay on the Ground,” John Leavitt, HAL, SATB, pno, opt hb, opt str bass (M)

  • “Sing Lullaby,” Heather Sorenson, HAL, SATB, pno, opt solo (ME)

  • “Holy Night of Wonder,” Faye Lopez, LOR, SATB, pno (ME)

  • “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” Marianne Forman, BP, SATB, pno, opt vln (M)

  • “Away in a Manger,” Ola Gjeilo, WAL, SATB, acap, soloist (M)

  • “Carol of the Crib,” Joanna Forbes L’estrange, Royal School of Church Music, SAB, org (ME)

  • “Love’s Pure Light (Silent Night),” Elaine Hagenberg, Elaine Hagenberg Music, SATB, pno, opt str qrt, opt fl, oboe, timp (M)

  • “Christmas Sanctus,” Lee Dengler and Susan Naus Dengler, HOPE, SATB/SAB/SSA/2 pt mx, pno (ME)

  • “Sussex Carol,” Elaine Hagenberg, BP, SATB, pno, opt orch (M)

  • “Do Not Be Afraid,” Andrea Ramsey, Musicspoke, SATB, sop solo, acap (MA)

  • “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” Becky McGlade, OUP, SATB, acap (M)


  • Stained Glass Panel with the Nativity, German, 15th century (PD) (MET)

  • The Nativity, Wolfgang (German), 1470, woodcut (PD) (MET)

  • Mystic Nativity, Sandro Botticelli, 1500 (VCS) Holy Family, Margret Hofheinz-Döring, 1973 (VDL)

  • The Light of the World, Frank Wesley, 1923–2002 (VDL)

  • Isaiah 9:6, Timothy R. Botts, 2016 (EYE)