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St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

Chester, Vermont

The First Eucharist of Christmas

Christmas Eve

Sunday, December 24, 2023 at 7:00 pm.

This service WILL be on Zoom

As the Carol Sing concludes, (which will also be on Zoom starting at 7:00pm) the Acolyte and Priest Stop at the Creche, and Porters of the Infant Jesus also stop at the creche.
The head porter and assistants lead the versicle below:

V.  The word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
R.  And we beheld his glory.

Porter and all recite the prayer below:
Most merciful and loving God, you have made this day holy by the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, and by the child-bearing of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Grant that we your people may enter with joy into the celebration of this day and may also rejoice forever as your adopted sons and daughters; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Entrance Hymn 83   (The Hymnal 1982)

Presider:    Blessed are you, holy and living One.

People:      You come to your people and set them free.

Presider and people:   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.


Song of Praise S-280   (The Hymnal 1982)

Presider:   God be with you. 

People:     And also with you.

Presider:   Let us pray.

Collect for the Nativity of our Lord Jesus(Book of Common Prayer, p. 212)

Presider and people:

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.   


The First Reading – Isaiah 9:2-7
Reader:  A reading from Isaiah
Psalm 96   

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.  3 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.  4 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.  5 For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.  6 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.  7 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.

Reader:    Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people.

People:    Thanks be to God.

1 Sing to God a new song; * sing to God all the whole earth.

2 Sing and bless God’s holy Name; * proclaim the good news of salvation from day to day.

3 Declare God’s glory among the nations, * God’s wonders among all peoples.


4 For God is great and greatly to be praised, * more to be feared than all gods.

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

6 Oh, the majesty and magnificence of God’s presence! * Oh, the power and the splendor of God’s sanctuary!

7 Ascribe to God, you families of the peoples, * ascribe to God honor and power.

8 Ascribe due honor to God’s holy Name; * bring offerings and come into God’s courts.

9 Worship the Most High in the beauty of holiness; * let the whole earth tremble before God.

10 Tell it out among the nations that God reigns! * God has made the world so firm that it cannot be moved and 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 God, who will come, * who will come to judge the earth.

13 God will judge the world with righteousness * and the peoples with truth

The Second Reading – Titus 2:11-14
Reader:    A reading from the Letter of Paul to Titus.

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all,  12 training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly,  13 while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.  14 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.


Reader:  Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people.

People:  Thanks be to God.

Sequence Hymn 98     (The Hymnal 1982)

The Holy Gospel Luke 2:1-20

Reader:  The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.

People:  Glory to you, O Christ.

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.  2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.  3 All went to their own towns to be registered.  4 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.  5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.  6 While they were there, the time
came for her to deliver her child.  7 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.

8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  10 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:  11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.  12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”  13 And 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!”  15 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.”  16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.  17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child;  18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.  19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered the in her heart.  20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Reader:  The Gospel of the Lord.

People:  Praise to you, O Christ.

The Sermon
The Rev. Dr. Bruce L. MacDuffie

Nicene Creed     

Presider and peopleWe 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, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human. 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, who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who 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.


Prayers of the People 

Presider: Gracious and Loving God, in Jesus you have filled all humanity with your divine life: Hear our prayers of joy and thanksgiving as we offer our supplications to you, saying: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to God’s people on earth.


Litanist:  You have entrusted the Church with good news of great joy for all people: Inspire our witness that we may spread the light of Jesus’ love to all humanity.

Litanist: Glory to God in the highest heaven,

People: and peace to God’s people on earth.

Litanist:  Let your power and compassion guide those who exercise authority on earth, that they may be servants of peace, bringing comfort and security to all who are vulnerable.


Litanist:  Glory to God in the highest heaven,

People: and peace to God’s people on earth.

Litanist:  Embrace with your eternal protection all who are poor: refugees and the displaced, those threatened by violence, and families with no place to call their home


Litanist:  Glory to God in the highest heaven,

People: and peace to God’s people on earth.

Litanist:  Fill this community with hospitality and generosity, that we may care for one another and celebrate the joy of your presence in our humanity.


Litanist: Glory to God in the highest heaven,

People: and peace to God’s people on earth.

Litanist:  We entrust to your divine grace all for whom we pray, especially those suffering from the warfare in Gaza and Sudan, and the victims of natural disasters such as the earthquakes in China and the floods in the Horn of Africa.

We give thanks for shepherds and all the vigilant who work while others sleep. Hear our grateful thanksgiving for all the gifts and blessings in our lives, especially the health care folks at work while we celebrate.

We entrust into your eternal arms those who have died, especially (please pray silently or aloud for those you hold in memory tonight).

Presider:  Loving God, the joyful message of the angels fills us with gladness as we celebrate the coming of the Christ child to live among us in vulnerable humility: Let your divine light so dwell within us, that we may treasure your words, ponder them in our hearts, and continue the work of Christ’s incarnation in our day, through Jesus our Savior, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be honor and glory, now and for ever.


Confession of Sin 

Presider      Let us confess our sins to God.     (Silence may be kept)

Minister and People:   
God of all mercy, we confess that we have sinned against you, opposing your will in our lives. We have denied your goodness in each other, in ourselves, and in the world you have created. We repent of the evil that enslaves us, the evil we have done, and the evil done on our behalf. Forgive, restore, and strengthen us through our Savior Jesus Christ, that we may abide in your love and serve only your will.
Minister:   Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins through the gr ace of Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power ofthe Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life.

The Peace

Presider:   The peace of Christ be always with you. 

People:      And also with you.

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

Offertory Hymn 87     (The Hymnal 1982)
Eucharistic Prayer     
(The people remain standing.)

The Sanctus      S-125     (The Hymnal 1982)

Presider:    The Lord be with you. 

People:       And also with you. 

Presider:     Lift up your hearts. 

People:       We lift them to the Lord. 

Presider:     Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. 

People:       It is right to give God thanks and praise.

Presider:    All thanks and praise are yours at all times and in all places, our true and loving God; through Jesus Christ, your eternal Word, the Wisdom from on high by whom you created all things. You laid the foundations of the world and enclosed the sea when it burst out from the womb; You brought forth all creatures of the earth and gave breath to humankind. Wondrous are you, Holy One of Blessing, all you create is a sign of hope for our journey; through Jesus Christ our Lord; Because you gave Jesus Christ your only Son, to be born for us; who by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, was made perfect man of the flesh
of the Virgin Mary his mother; so that we night be delivered from the bondage of sin, and receive power to become your children. And so as the stars sing your praises we join the heavenly beings and all creation as we shout with joy::

(The people stand or kneel)
Presider:  Glory and honor are yours, Creator of all, your Word has never been silent; you called a people to yourself, as a light to the nations, you delivered them from bondage and led them to a land of promise.

Of your grace, you gave Jesus to be human, to share our life, to proclaim the coming of your holy reign and give himself for us, a fragrant offering. Through Jesus Christ our Redeemer, you have freed us from sin, brought us into your life, reconciled us to you, and restored us to the glory you intend for us.

We thank you that on the night before he died for us Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, gave it to his friends and said: “Take, eat, this is my Body, broken for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”

After supper Jesus took the cup of wine, said the blessing, gave it to his friends and said: “Drink this, all of you: this cup is the new Covenant in my Blood, poured out for you and for all for the forgiveness of sin. Do this for the remembrance of me.”

And so, remembering all that was done for us: the cross, the tomb, the resurrection and ascension, longing for Christ’s coming in glory, and presenting to you these gifts your earth has formed and human hands have made, we acclaim you, O Christ:

Presider and people:

Dying, you destroyed our death.

Rising, you restored our life.
Christ Jesus, come in glory!


Presider: Send your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts of bread and wine that they may be to us the Body and Blood of your Christ.


Grant that we, burning with your Spirit’s power, may be a people of hope, justice and love.

Giver of Life, draw us together in the Body of Christ, and in the fullness of time gather us with blessed Luke, the patron of this congregation, and all your people into the joy of our true eternal home.

Through Christ and with Christ and in Christ, by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, we worship you our God and Creator in voices of unending praise.


Presider and people:

Blessed are you now and forever.



The Breaking of the Bread

Presider:    Alleluia. Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. 

People:      Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia.

Presider:  And now, As our Savior Christ Christ has taught us, we are bold to say, 


Presider and people:

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.



The Breaking of the Bread
Presider: Alleluia. Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.
People: Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia.

S-164     The Hymnaal 1982

Invitation to Communion

Presider:  The Holy Gifts of God for the Holy People of God. 

This is the table, not of the Church but of Jesus Christ. It is made ready for those who love God and who want to love God more. So come, you who have much faith and you who have little, you who have been here often and you who have not been for a long time or ever before, you who have tried to follow and you who have failed. It is Christ who invites you to be known and fed here. All are welcome to receive communion. (Special COVID precautions may be voiced here.)

Communion Hymn 89   (The Hymnal 1982)

During the singing of the preceding hymn, candle lighting will be passed person to person in each pew. The electric light will be extinguished, and we will sing “Silent night” by candle light.

Hymn (by candlelight) 111 (The Hymnal 1982)

Post-communion Prayer

Presider Let us pray.

Presider and People

Loving God, we give you thanks for restoring us in your image and nourishing us with spiritual food in the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood. Now send us forth a people, forgiven, healed, renewed; that we may proclaim your love to the world and continue in the risen life of Christ our Savior.


Closing Hymn   100    (The Hymnal 1982)

Christmas Season Blessing

May Almighty God, who sent his Son to take our nature upon him, bless you in this holy season, scatter the darkness of sin, and brighten your heart with the light of his holiness.


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


May God, who in the Word made flesh joined heaven to earth and earth to heaven, give you his peace and favor.



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





Presider:      Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Alleluia.  Alleluia.

People:        Thanks be to God.  Alleluia.  Alleluia.

PLEASE!! Take this service leaflet with you. Read the scriptures again. Learn a
hymn or two. Use the prayers of the people all this coming week. Blessings!


Monday, December 25:  Christmas Day

9:00-10:00 A.M.   Holy Eucharist

Rev. Bruce MacDuffie, Presiding

Wednesday, December 27: Saint John the Evangelist

Midweek Eucharist in Willard Hall

5:30-6:00 P.M.

Sunday, December 31:  The First Sunday after Christmas

10:00-11:15 A.M.    Holy Eucharist

Rev. Bruce MacDuffie, Presiding

Wednesday    January 3     

Midweek Eucharist in Willard Hall

5:30-6:00 PM


Sunday, January 7  

The First Sunday after the Epiphany: the Baptism Of our Lord

10:00-11:15 A.M.    Holy Eucharist

Rev. Bruce MacDuffie, Presiding

Wednesday, January 10

Midweek Eucharist in Willard Hall



Sunday, January 14   

10-11:15 AM Holy Eucharist

Visitation by the Rt. Rev. Shannon McVean-Brown, Bishop of Vermont




Wednesday, December 27

Inquirer’s  Colloquy in Willard Hall



Wednesday, January 3

Inquirer’s  Colloquy in Willard Hall


Thursday, January 4

Memory Café, run by Senior Solutions

 11AM-1PM in Willard Hall

Open to all care givers and all living with the Memory conditions found in various stages of  Alzheimer's and Dementia.  Call Joann Erenhouse of Senior Solutions at 802-885-2655 for further Information.  


Wednesday, January 10    

Vestry Meeting

6:30 PM  

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