Order of Service for Christmas Eve 7:30 pm

Welcome to this in-person service as we celebrate Christmas Eve. This week the service will be live broadcast for those of you participating from home. Because it is a live broadcast it will not be available until 7:30 pm Thursday evening. 

CLICK HERE to join the December 24th livestream.

Service music: Missa puerum – Josef Rheinberger

Prelude:  Festive music for Christmas



Hymn    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.

God of God, Light of Light,
lo, he abhors not the virgin's womb;
very God, begotten not created: [Refrain]

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation,
sing, all ye citizens of heaven above;
glory to God, glory in the highest: [Refrain]

Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning,
Jesus, to thee be glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing: [Refrain]


Dear friends, we gather this morning on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Nation, and we recognize the continuing presence of First Nations, Métis and Inuit in this region.
May we dwell on this land with respect and peace.

Here let heaven and earth embrace;
here may God’s people find home.

Advent Wreath Liturgy

Because injustice, despair, and illness threaten to overwhelm us,
we pray for hope.

Because so many swords have not yet been beaten into ploughshares,
we pray for peace.

Because grief and loss weigh so heavily,
we pray for joy.

Because hatred is still so strong, and because people all over the world are suffering,
we pray for love.

God has come to us as a child,
to dwell with us, and to walk with us.

May the light and the fire from these candles
burn away everything that is preventing the God of hope, peace, joy, and love from being born among us.

Brothers and sisters, be not afraid, even now the light of Christ is overwhelming the world, on earth as it is in heaven!


Collect of the Day

Almighty God, as we prepare with joy to celebrate the gift of the Christ-child, embrace the earth with your glory and be for us a living hope in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


First Reading:  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 Counsellor, 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.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
Thanks be to God.

Psalm 96:1-4, 9-13

Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the whole earth. Sing to the Lord and bless his name; proclaim the good news of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations and his wonders among all peoples. For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; he is more to be feared than all gods. Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; let the whole earth tremble before him. 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.” 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. Then shall all the trees of the wood shout for joy before the Lord when he comes, when he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with his truth.

Second Reading: 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 Saviour, 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.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
Thanks be to God.

Gradual     The Little Road to Bethlehem – Michael Head

As I walked down the road at set of sun, the lambs were coming homewards, one by one, I heard a sheep-bell softly calling them along the little road to Bethlehem.  Beside an open door as I drew nigh, I heard sweet Mary sing a lullaby.  She sang about the lambs at close of day and rocked her King among the hay.  Across the air the silver sheep-bell rang, “The lambs are coming home,” sweet Mary sang, “Your Star of gold is shining in the sky, so sleep my little King, go lullaby.”

Holy Gospel:  Luke 2:1-20

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.
Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

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 Saviour, 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 favours!” 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.

The Gospel of Christ.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


Motet:  Tomorrow shall be my dancing day – John Gardiner

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day: I would my true love did so chance to see the legend of my play, to call my true love to my dance: Sing, O my love, O my love, my love, my love; this have I done for my true love. Then I was born of a virgin pure, of her I took fleshly substance; thus was I knit to man's nature, to call my true love to my dance: Sing, O my love, O my love, my love, my love; this have I done for my true love. In a manger laid and wrapped I was, so very poor this was my chance, betwixt an ox and a silly poor ass, to call my true love to my dance: Sing, O my love, O my love, my love, my love; this have I done for my true love. Then afterwards baptized I was; the Holy Ghost on me did glance, my Father's voice heard from above, to call my true love to my dance: Sing, O my love, O my love, my love, my love; this have I done for my true love.

The Apostles’ Creed

Let us confess the faith of our baptism, as we say,
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Prayers of the People

In the name of the Holy Child of Bethlehem, let us pray to the Lord, saying: Lord, graciously hear us.

Most Holy God, we gather before you in prayer, celebrating the birth of Jesus, and giving thanks for your presence in our lives and in the life of our beloved Church. Lord hear us:
Lord, graciously hear us.

As we enter this joyous season of Christmas, we pray that the light of your Christ will shine upon all nations, all people and all Creation, leading us in love, peace and joy. Lord hear us:
Lord, graciously hear us.

We pray for Elizabeth our Queen, Julie our Governor General, and Justin our Prime Minister; and we pray that your grace and your wisdom will be with all the leaders of the world: may their hearts be softened to your ways of compassion and hope, may their reasoning and deliberations be sound and fair, and may peace and justice prevail across the Earth. Lord hear us:
Lord, graciously hear us.

We pray for all who are affected by conflict, violence and exploitation. We hold before you all combatants, all casualties, all refugees, all victims, all perpetrators. May your presence and your peace surround all children, women, and men whose humanity has been damaged or distorted by war, cruelty or greed. Lord hear us: Lord, graciously hear us.

We pray for all who suffer in body, mind, or spirit: for those who ache with pain or hunger; those who tremble in fear or anxiety; those who feel emptiness or despair; those who feel unloved or unwanted; and for every person on earth as the coronavirus pandemic takes its toll. Lord hear us:
Lord, graciously hear us.

We pray for all who have died; and we pray for all who mourn – that they will feel your comfort and your hope – especially those whom we name in the silence of our hearts. Lord hear us:
Lord, graciously hear us.

As we join with Christians all over the world to celebrate Christ’s birth, we pray that you will give guidance and wisdom to each of us; encouraging and strengthening us to serve others with love and courage wherever we live, work or play, and filling us with hope and determination as we wait for the end of the pandemic. Lord hear us:
Lord, graciously hear us.

We thank you loving God, for shining the light of your Messiah upon us. Hear our prayers on this holy night, and give us grace to trust in you every day and every night. This we ask in the name of Jesus our Saviour. Amen.

Confession and Absolution

Dear friends in Christ, God is steadfast in love and infinite in mercy; welcoming sinners and inviting us to this table. Let us confess our sins, confident in God’s forgiveness.

Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbours 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, to the glory of your name. Amen.

Almighty God have mercy upon you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and keep you in eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

The Peace

The peace of the Lord be always with you.
And also with you.

The Offertory Hymn:  Shepherds in the field abiding – Iris

Shepherds in the field abiding,
Tell us, when the seraph bright
Greeted you with wondrous tiding
What you saw and heard that night.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.

We beheld (it is no fable),
God incarnate, King of bliss,
Swathed and cradled in a stable,
And the angel strain was this:
Gloria in excelsis Deo.

Choristers on high were singing,
Jesus and his Virgin birth
Heavenly bells the while a-ring,
"Peace, good will to all on earth."
Gloria in excelsis Deo.

Thanks, good shepherds, true your story,
Let us go to Bethlehem;
Angels hymn the King of glory,
Carol we with you and them.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.

We invite you to make your offering to the Cathedral at this time by CLICKING HERE.


Prayer Over the Gifts

Gracious God, by the power of the Spirit who sanctified the mother of your Son, make holy all we offer you this day. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.

The 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.

It is right to give you thanks and praise, O Lord, our God, sustainer of the universe, you are worthy of glory and praise.
Glory to you for ever and ever.

At your command all things came to be: the vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses, and this fragile earth, our island home; by your will they were created and have their being.
Glory to you for ever and ever.

From the primal elements you brought forth the human race, and blessed us with memory, reason, and skill; you made us the stewards of creation.
Glory to you for ever and ever.

But we turn against you, and betray your trust; and we turn against one another. Again and again you call us to return. Through the prophets and sages you reveal your righteous law. In the fullness of time you sent your Son, born of a woman, to be our Saviour. He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities. By his death he opened to us the way of freedom and peace.
Glory to you for ever and ever.

Therefore we praise you, joining with the heavenly chorus, with prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and with those in every generation who have looked to you in hope, to proclaim with them your glory, in their unending hymn: 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.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, for sending us Jesus, the Christ, who on the night he was handed over to suffering and death, took bread, said the blessing, broke the bread, gave it to his friends, and said, “Take this, and eat it: this is my body which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”

In the same way, after supper, he took the cup of wine; he gave you thanks, 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.”
Glory to you for ever and ever.

Gracious God, we recall the death of your Son Jesus Christ, we proclaim his resurrection and ascension, and we look with expectation for his coming as Lord of all the nations. We who have been redeemed by him, and made a new people by water and the Spirit, now bring you these gifts. Send your Holy Spirit upon us and upon this offering of your Church, that we who eat and drink at this holy table may share the divine life of Christ our Lord.
Glory to you for ever and ever.

Pour out your Spirit upon the whole earth and make it your new creation. Gather your Church together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom, where peace and justice are revealed, that we, with all your people, of every language, race, and nation, may share the banquet you have promised; through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, all honour and glory are yours, creator of all. People Glory to you for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

And now, as our Saviour Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,
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, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Breaking of the Bread

We break the bread of life, and that life is the light of the world.
God here among us, light in the midst of us, bring us to light and life


The gifts of God for the People of God.
Thanks be to God.

Agnus Dei

Organ Meditation      Élévation sur un noël – Alexandre Guilmant

Motet:  The virgin’s slumber-song – Max Reger

Amid the roses Mary sits and rocks her Jesus child, while amid the treetops sighs the breeze so warm and mild. And soft and sweetly sings a bird upon the bough: Ah! baby, sleep, dear one, slumber now! Happy is thy laughter, holy is thy silent rest, Lay thy head in slumber fondly on thy mother's breast! Ah! baby, sleep, dear one, Slumber now!


Prayer after Communion

Creator of all, tonight you have united earth and heaven in sending your Son to take our human nature. May we who have tasted heavenly things share in the life of his eternal kingdom. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Glory to God,
whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Glory to God from generation to generation, in the Church and in Christ Jesus, for ever and ever. Amen.

Blessing and Dismissal

May the hope, peace, joy, and love of the Christ child be in your hearts and in your home this Christmas; and may the blessing of God, Creator, Son and Holy Spirit be upon you always. Amen.

Go forth in the light of Christ.
Thanks be to God.

Hymn        Joy to the World – Antioch

Joy to the world! The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

Joy to the world! The Saviour reigns
Let us glad songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy

He rules the world with truth and grace
and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness
and wonders of his love,
and wonders of his love
and wonders, wonders of his love.

Postlude:  Noël Parisienne – Charles Quef


We invite you to make your offering to the Cathedral at this time by CLICKING HERE  


Celebrant  Canon Hilary Murray
Gospeller Canon Doug Richards
Preacher  Dean Beth Bretzlaff
Organist  Nicholas Walters
Director   James Calkin
Sung by Treble Choristers of the Cathedral Choirs
Readers  Geoffrey Ebere, William Gardner
Intercessor  Peter Webber
Duty Warden  Jane Morris, Sophie Mündel

Advent Wreath: www.saltproject.org ©2020. Liturgy: The Book of Alternative Services ©1985 by the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada. Readings: New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) Anglicized Edition, ©1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Prayers: Feasting on the Word Worship Companion, Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, Kindle Edition.


Book of Alternative Services copyright © 1985 and Common Praise copyright © 1998 by the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada. All rights reserved. Reproduced under license from ABC Publishing, Anglican Book Centre, a ministry of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, from Anglican Liturgical Library. Further copying is prohibited. Readings from New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, © copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.