Apparently running ahead of schedule on his Christmas Eve rounds, Santa Claus took time out of his busy night Sunday to worship at All Saints By-the-Episcopal Church in Montecito. (Rev. Aimée Eyer-Delevett photo)

’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the church …

Among the creatures stirring at the Christmas Eve midnight service at All Saints By-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Montecito on Sunday night was a right jolly old elf.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot …

The mysterious visitor even spread the light inside the sanctuary during the candle-lighting ceremony at the start of the packed worship service and received Communion at the end.

His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow …

After the service, he spoke few words, but went straight back to work.

But he was heard to exclaim, ere he drove out of sight —
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Click here for more information about All Saints By-the-Sea Episcopal Church.

It must be St. Nick.

It must be St. Nick. (Rev. Aimée Eyer-Delevett photo)