December 24, 2020: Recorded Service of the Word

All Saints’ Church, Portsmouth, and Christ Church, Ironton, have collaborated to bring you a beautifully crafted, pre-recorded worship service featuring carols, prayers, scripture lessons, and a sermon.

A Christmas Eve Celebration with a Service of the Word and Spiritual Communion

Duet  “Away In a Manger”  Mueller

Kaylee Smith, soprano/guitar; Addison Smith, soprano

Carol  “O Come, All Ye Faithful”  Adeste Fideles

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem; Come and behold him born the King of Angels: O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord!

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation, Sing, all ye citizens of heav’n above; Glory to God in the highest: O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord!

Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning, Jesus, to thee be glory giv’n; Word of the Father, Now in flesh appearing: O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord!

Dr. Stanley E. Workman, Jr., tenor

Solo  “O Holy Night” Adolphe Adam

Mari Grace Smith, soprano

Opening Acclamation  

Celebrant:      Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
People:           And blessed be his kingdom, now and for ever.  Amen. 

The Collect for Purity

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

The Collect of the Day

Celebrant:      The Lord be with you.
People:           And also with you.
Celebrant:      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 First Lesson   Isaiah 9:2-7

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness–on them light has shined.  You 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. For 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. For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.  For 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.  His 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 96

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 Lesson   Titus 2:11-14

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.

The Gospel   Luke 2:1-20

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph 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. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And 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. In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see– I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” When 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.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Deacon:         The Gospel of the Lord
People:           Praise to you, Lord Christ.
The Sermon   The Rev. Paul A. Bennett

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.  He 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.

Prayers of the People

Holy one, we have anticipated this evening when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. May the brightness of this moment release our fears and renew our hope. God is with us.
Response:       Hear our prayer.

Sanctifying God fill our hearts with your saving grace, that we may proclaim your presence through acts justice and peace in all the world. God is with us.
Response:       Hear our prayer.

For the Church, born anew to be a sign and symbol of hope in our community and world. We pray for Michael, our presiding bishop, and the diocesan staff, and all who minister in the churches of our diocese. God is with us.
Response:       Hear our prayer.

For all who journey from illness to health, from despair to hope, from grief to consolation, from loneliness to love. We pray especially for those with chronic illnesses, those suffering from the coronavirus. Bless those in quarantine and give strength to those caring for loved ones. God is with us.
Response:       Hear our prayer.

We pray especially for those who are ill. God is with us.
Response:       Hear our prayer.

For first responders and health care workers who continue to stand on the front lines of care for those with coronavirus. For the health and safety of our community. God is with us.
Response:       Hear our prayer.

For those who have already lost loved ones to the coronavirus and those who will yet suffer such loss, that they may know the consolation of your love. God is with us.
Response:       Hear our prayer.

Embrace us with your love and grant us the hope of new life. Remembering those who now dwell in your everlasting presence, we pause in silence to remember them. God is with us.
Response:       Hear our prayer.

Almighty God, who is with us, hear our prayers and thanksgivings. We ask you to fulfill them. And grant us the wisdom and strength to live each day with the purpose of showing your love to others. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Response:       Amen.

The Peace
Celebrant:      The peace of the Lord be always with you.
People:           And also with you.

A Liturgy of Spiritual Communion
Blessed be God, + Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever.  Amen.

Let the power of the Holy Spirit come upon us, O Lord, to mercifully cleanse our hearts and defend us from all adversities, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Act of Contrition
O God, we are very sorry that we have sinned against you and for all the wrongs we have done and the good we have not done. Especially we confess our sins to you. Forgive us for Jesus’ sake, and grant us strength and wisdom to amend our lives. Amen

The Absolution
Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life. Amen.
Act of Reception
In union, blessed Jesus, with the faithful gathered at every altar of your Church where your blessed Body and Blood are offered this day, and remembering particularly our own parishes and those worshiping here we long to offer you praise and thanksgiving, for creation and all the blessings of this life, for the redemption won for us by your life, death, and resurrection, for the means of grace and the hope of glory. And particularly for the blessings given us, we believe that you are truly present in the Holy Sacrament, and, since we cannot at this time receive communion, we pray you to come into our hearts. We unite ourselves with you and embrace you with all our hearts, our souls, and our minds. Let nothing separate us from you; let us serve you in this life until, by your grace, we come to your glorious kingdom and unending peace. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art 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.
Duet   “Silent Night” Stille Nacht

Kaylee Smith, soprano/guitar; Addison Smith, soprano
Come Lord Jesus, and dwell in our hearts in the fullness of your strength; be our wisdom and guide us in right pathways; conform our lives and actions to the image of your holiness; and, in the power of your gracious might, rule over every hostile power that threatens or disturbs the growth of your kingdom, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ my Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, + the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with us now and always. Amen.
Last Gospel  John 1:1-14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

About Spiritual Communion
The Book of Common Prayer reminds us that if one is unable to actually consume the consecrated bread and wine due to extreme sickness or disability, the desire is enough for God to grant all the benefits of communion (BCP, p. 457). When being present at a celebration of the Eucharist is absolutely impossible, this act of prayer and meditation can provide the means by which you can associate yourself with the Eucharistic Action and open yourself to God’s grace and blessing.

Spiritual Communion is excerpted from Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book. Permission is given to reproduce this text for use in local worshiping communities. © 2014 Forward Movement.

All Saints' Episcopal Church, Portsmouth, OH