Christmas Eve Service, December 24, 2021 - St. Martin's In the Desert

Christmas Eve Service, December 24, 2021

God came in Jesus of Nazareth to reveal the power of God’s love and healing. In the birth of Jesus, we realize that God shares life with us intimately. We meet God “in the flesh” of human struggle and most especially in the midst of human love. Christmas celebrates the incarnation of God; God “in the flesh of” human life.

At their entry into the church for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the Celebrant (and other ministers) may make a station at a Christmas Creche. The figure of the Christ Child may be carried in the procession and placed in the creche. Other figures may also be brought in if desired.

Prelude: The First Noel, Harp solo

All Standing:

Processional Hymn: #79 O little town of Bethlehem

Celebrant: V. The glory of the Lord has been revealed.

People: R. And all flesh shall see the salvation of our God.

Let us pray.

Almighty and ever-living God, you have given us a new revelation of your loving providence in the Coming your Son Jesus Christ to be born of the Virgin Mary: Grant that as he shared our mortality, so we may share his eternity in the glory of your kingdom; where he lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen

The Holy Eucharist: Rite Two

The Word of God:

Celebrant: Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

People: And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever. Amen

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 you Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen

When appointed, the following hymn or some other song of praise is sung or said, all standing

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.

Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you,

We give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer.

For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Celebrant The Lord be with you.

People And also with you.

Celebrant Let us pray.

O God, you make us glad by the yearly festival of the birth of your only Son Jesus Christ: Grant that we, who joyfully receive him as our Redeemer, may with sure confidence behold him when he comes to be our Judge; who lives and reigns with you the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

The Lessons: 

First Reading: Isaiah 62:6-12

Psalm 97

Second Reading: Titus 3:4-7

Hymn: Before/after the Gospel 102 Once in Royal David’s City, vs 1, then vs  2 after

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke 2: [1-7], 8-2

People: Glory to you, Lord Christ.

The Gospel of the Lord.

People: Praise to you, Lord Christ.

The Homily:

The Rev. Lola Culbreath

On Sundays and other Major Feasts there follows, all standing

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: by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.

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 and the Son. With the Father and the Son, he is worshiped and glorified. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen

The Prayers of the People  

Deacon or leader

Come let us adore Christ, the Lord. Let us pray,

“Glorious Lord, grant us your peace.”

Christ the Lord, we humbly adore you: make joyful our hearts. Strengthen your Church with humility and faith that we might triumph over the power of evil.


Glorious Lord,

Grant us your peace.

Christ the Lord, we humbly adore you: you abhor neither the simple nor the lowly.

Shine your light on all the world that the nations may look upon your truth and find their salvation.


Glorious Lord,

Grant us your peace.

Christ the Lord, we humbly adore you: may all of creation burst forth in songs and praise.  May all the works of your hand glorify you.

You may add your own thanksgiving.

Glorious Lord,

Grant us your peace.

Christ the Lord, we humbly adore you: summon the people of the city to yourself.

May all of the distractions and heartache of our lives fade away in the joy of your presence.


Glorious Lord,

Grant us your peace.

Christ the Lord, we humbly adore you: you love us so dearly. Grant your healing grace to sinners, to the poor, to those in need of love. Open your arms to the sick and the lonely.

Add your own petitions


Glorious Lord,

Grant us your peace.

Christ the Lord, we humbly adore you: all glory be given to you. You blessed our earthly bodies with your birth; and you promise to raise us to new life by your death and resurrection.


Glorious Lord,

Grant us your peace.


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 the Light on earth, may also enjoy him perfectly in heaven; where with you and the Holy Spirit he lives and reigns, on God, in glory everlasting. Amen 

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.

Minister and People

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.

For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,

Have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways,


Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins though our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life. Amen

The Peace

Hymn: 89 It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

The Holy Communion

The Great Thanksgiving

Eucharistic Prayer A

The people remain standing. The Celebrant, whether bishop or priest, faces them and sings or says.

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 him thanks and praise.

It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.

Therefore, we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven, who forever sing this hymn to proclaim the glory of your Name.

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.

The people stand or kneel.

Holy and gracious Father: In your infinite love you made us for yourself; and, when we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death, you, in your mercy, sent Jesus Christ, you only and eternal Son, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all.

He stretched out his arms upon the cross, and offered himself, in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for the whole world.

On the night he was handed over to suffering and death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciple, and said, “Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.

After supper he 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 shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”

Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Celebrant and People

Christ has died.

Christ has risen.

Christ will come again.

The Celebrant continues

We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O Father, in this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Recalling his death, resurrection, and ascension, we offer you these gifts.

+ Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of new and unending life in him. + Sanctify us also that we may faithfully receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy, and peace; and at the last day bring us with all your saints into the joy of your eternal kingdom.

All this we ask through your Son Jesus Christ. By him, and with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and forever. AMEN.

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

Our Father, who ae 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 trespasses, as we forgive those

Who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

And the power, and the glory,

For ever and ever. Amen

The Breaking of the Bread

(Alleluia) Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; 

Therefore, let us keep the feast. (Alleluia)

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 Body of Christ, the bread of heaven.

The Blood of Christ, the cup of salvation.

(During Communion: Harp/Cello Duo, Silent Night)

Let us pray.

Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted us as living members of your Son 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 Lord. Amen.

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

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


Final Hymn: 87 Hark, the Herald Angles

Postlude: Harp and Cello Carol Medley