Christmas Eve Worship Service

Dec 24, 2021, 8:00 pm9:00 pm
Princeton University Chapel
Attend in person* & virtual option



Event Description

Join us in the magnificent University Chapel for a very special Christmas Eve Worship Service with Rev. Alison L. Boden, Ph.D., Dean of Religious Life and of the Chapel at Princeton University. The music prelude begins at 7:30pm with the Chapel community choir, chamber orchestra, and University Organist Eric Plutz. This service will be live streamed on the ORL YouTube page available through this link.

*All persons, including members of the broader community, are welcome to attend this event if they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 if over age 12. Face coverings must be worn at all times by everyone over age 2. Registration is required for contact tracing purposes. In-person registration will be available, but lines may be long.We recommend visitors pre-register to obtain free tickets for admission through this link . PUID holders may prox in.

The bulletin for this service is below.

Princeton University Chapel, Christmas Eve, December 24, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

You are invited to rise, in body or spirit, for those parts of the service marked with an asterisk (*)

Invitatory: Carillon on a Ukrainian Carol by Gerald Near (b. 1942); Symphonies des Noëls by Michel Richard de Laland (1657-1726); Three settings of In dulci jubilo Prelude by Wilbur Held (1914-2015); Prelude by Marcel Dupré (1886-1971); Chorale Prelude, BWV 608 by Johann Sebastian Bach 1685-1750); Two Appalachian carols arranged by John Jacob Niles(1892-1980) - I Wonder as I Wander; Jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head with Samuel Duffey '19, baritone; Symphonies des Noëls by Michel Richard de Lalande; Christmas Entrada by David Conte(b. 1955)

*Hymn: O Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles)

*Call to Worship: Dean Boden


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 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.

Anthem: Ihr lieben Hirten (You Dear Shepherds) by Andreas Hammerschmidt (ca. 1611-1675) - In this Baroque work, the soloist and small ensemble sing the words of the angel in Luke 2:10-12. The choir responds throughout with cries of “Freude! Freude! Grosse Freude!” (Joy! Joy! Great joy!) Finally, all voices unite in the acclamation, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth and among those with whom God is pleased!”

Second Reading: 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 God stood before them, and the glory of God 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 God 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 God 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.

Sermon: “Hope is Born” by Dean Boden

* Hymn: Angels We Have Heard on High (Gloria)

Pastoral Prayer: Dean Thames

After each petition

One: God of love and mercy

All: hear our prayer

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.

*Exchange of the Peace

One: The peace of God be always with you.

All: And also with you.

The people may exchange the peace with one another.

Offertory Sentence

Music at the Offering: Wexford Carol arranged by Elaine Hagenberg; The Giving Carol by Henry Lebedinsky

Doxology: (Sung to the tune of hymn no. 27 - Lasst Uns Erfreuen) - Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise God all creatures here below, alleluia, alleluia! Praise God above ye heavenly hosts, Creator, Christ, and Holy Ghost, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Candlelighting: Parents are asked to refrain from giving candles to children. Glowsticks are available for children.

*Hymns: In the Bleak Midwinter (Cranham); What Child Is This? (Greensleeves); Silent Night, Holy Night (Stille Nacht)


*Hymn: Joy to the World! (Antioch)

Voluntary: Toccata on “Good King Wenceslas” by Marvin Mills (b. 1958)

The Office of Religious Life would like to thank the members of the orchestra and everyone who has given of their time to sing in the Christmas Eve Chorus. Orchestra: Violins - Richard Rood, Denise Rood; Viola – Lois Martin; Cello - Chris Finckel; Bass - Peter Weitzner; Oboes - Melanie Feld, Noah Kay

The offering received each year at this Christmas Eve service is divided between a domestic and an international organization, each of which is doing critical faith-based work and has partnered with Princeton University’s Office of Religious Life (ORL). This year the domestic recipient is Interfaith Refugee and Immigrant Services and Empowerment (Interfaith-RISE), a multi-faith, multi-congregational, multiracial organization committed to resettling refugees in central NJ, assisting asylum seekers before and after release from Elizabeth Detention Center, and supporting local faith and civic groups as they advocate for and work with refugees in their communities. Interfaith-RISE assists with housing, ESL, social services, education, medical assistance, mental health services, transportation, and supportive community integration as families and individuals journey towards self-sufficiency and independence. Today their work is pivoting towards resettling the Afghan refugees who will live in our area. The Princeton University Office of Religious Life partners closely with Interfaith-RISE in our Luce Foundation-funded Religion and Resettlement Project ( Our international recipient is the Rose Castle Foundation (RCF), based in Cumbria, UK. RCF brings together people from opposing sides of conflict and strife of every kind to learn skills for faith-based reconciliation. Their pedagogy creates reconciling leaders who bring transformation to families, communities, institutions, and nations. Princeton students have participated in a one-week curriculum at Rose Castle, a journey of encountering difference, engaging through conflict, restoring relationships, and reimagining society. The program engaged deeply with themes of reconciliation, hospitality and conflict, mediation, forgiveness, and investing in leadership development. There is now an ongoing society of Princeton students who are receiving this training on campus.

University Chapel Staff: The Rev. Alison L. Boden, Ph.D., Dean of Religious Life and of the Chapel; The Rev. Dr. Theresa S. Thames, Associate Dean of Religious Life and of the Chapel; Dr. Nicole Aldrich, Director of Chapel Music and of the Chapel Choir; Eric Plutz, University Organist; Elizabeth Powers, Chapel Administrator; Otis Byrd, Jr., Seminarian Intern; Edgar Gomez, Sexton; Lisa McGurr, Sexton

The University Chapel is a welcoming community of faith. We gather to sing God's praises, to hear God's living Word, to seek justice, and to proclaim God's love for all people. Every Sunday of every month the congregation is invited to bring non-perishable food items to be donated to Arm in Arm. If you are interested in making a contribution toward Sunday flowers in the chapel as a memorial please contact Liz Powers for details at 609-258-3048.

Calendar of Services

Christian worship is offered at Princeton University Chapel every Sunday morning at 11:00. It is a warm and welcoming community of faith. If you would like more information about our services, please speak with a minister or an usher. We hope you will join us!

A Christmas Day Service of Holy Communion - Dean Thames will be the preacher - Saturday, December 25, 2021 at 11:00 a.m.

A Christmas Festival Service of Lessons and Carols - Presented by Trinity Episcopal Church, Princeton - Sunday, December 26, 2021 at 11:00 a.m.

Hymn Sing and Worship Service – Festive hymn sing for the season - Sunday, January 2, 2022, 11:00 a.m.

For additional information, please visit or call 609-258-3047.

Office of Religious Life