December 24, 2020
Christmas Carol Service Celebrating the Birth of Christ
Leading us today in Worship
Minister: Rev. Thérèse Samuel
Music Director: Dr. Christopher Burton
Lay Leader: Phyllis Fleming
Scripture Reader: Caroline Araujo-Abbotts
~ Leader: regular font ~ All: bold font ~ Sung words: bold italics
PRELUDE Away in A Manger, alternate tune.
Music by Ord. Oxford University Press. Used by permission, One License #608577
CALL TO WORSHIP
Come with Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. We feel their uncertainty; they are far away from home. Come with Joseph and Mary, as they search for lodgings. We feel their frustration; there is no place to stay. Be with the shepherds in their lonely tending of flocks on the mountainside. We feel their fear when they encounter the heavenly messenger. Be with the shepherds as they receive the good news about Jesus. We feel their joy, God’s glory embraces them and God’s glory is ours this Christmas Eve. Come, let us worship in joy and in hope!
Written by David Sparks, from Gathering, Advent/Christmas/Epiphany 2020-2021 p 36
Holy One, as we once again ponder the story of your birth, we see your divine love moving through the lives of all the characters in this narrative. Your voice is heard in the angels, sent to deliver your instructions and to allay human fears. We see you in the faithful, courageous hearts of Mary and Joseph. We see you in the challenges Mary and Joseph faced, and in the tenderness of your provision for them. Your love is in the heart of the innkeeper. We see you in the vulnerability of a newborn baby. We hear you in the sweet voices of the angel chorus and in the surprised voices of the incredulous shepherds. Later, your wisdom comes through the visit from the magi. All who saw you on that night held you in the centre of their hearts. We too want to worship you, hold you, and feel your love direct all our paths. It is for that reason that we are gathered here. Bless us, Holy One. Amen.
Written by Elizabeth Henderson, from Gathering, Advent/Christmas/Epiphany 2020-2021 p 36
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
God of hosanna and hallelujah, of whoops of delight and joyous shouts, open our hearts to the overwhelming magnitude of your love for us. God of silent nights and tender care, quieten our excitement—just a little—so that we may hear your word this day. God of astounded shepherds and praising angels, lift up our hearts to glorify you this morning (evening) as we receive the stories of scripture. Amen.
Written by Gill Le Fevre,from Gathering, Advent/Christmas/Epiphany 2020-2021 p 38
SCRIPTURE: Our Scripture Reading is from the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2, verses 1-20. I am reading a paraphrase of the King James Version. This is the story of the birth of Jesus.
The Emperor made a law that there would be a tax on each person, and for the tax everyone had to go to their family’s hometown. So Joseph and his fiancée Mary left their home in Nazareth, to go to Bethlehem, town of David because Joseph was part of King David’s family. Mary was about to give birth, and while they were there, the baby was born.
VU 64 O Little Town of Bethlehem verse 1 Words Phillips Broooks, 1868 Music ST LOUIS Louis Henry Redner 1868
O Little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie! Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by; Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light; the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
This was her first child—a boy. She wrapped him in bands of cloth, kind of like a blanket. They didn’t have a proper room to stay in, so she had to put him to lay down on the hay in a feeding-trough.
VU 69 Away in a Manger, verse 1 Words: Unknown Music William James Kirkpatrick 1895; arr. Desmond Hassell 1992. Used by permission, One License #608577
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head. The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.
In a field nearby, there were shepherds guarding their sheep. It was night-time. A messenger of God came to them, and the place lit up. The shepherds were terrified.
VU 43 V 1 Go Tell It on the Mountain v 1, chorus Words: John Wesley Work II 1907 Music GO, TELL IT African American Spiritual 19th Century, arr. United Reformed Church (UK). By permission of Oxford University Press. Used by permission, One License #608577
While shepherds kept their watching o’er silent flocks by night, behold, throughout the heavens there shone a holy light. Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere. Go, tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.
The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I am bringing good news that will make you, and everybody, very happy. Because today, your saviour is born, Christ the Lord. And you will know this is true, when you find the baby wrapped in bands of cloth and laying in a feeding trough.
VU 74 What Child Is This v1 Words William Chatterton Eix ca. 1865. Music GREENSLEEVES English melody, 16th century; harm. attrib. John Stainer 1871
What child is this, who laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping? Whom angels greet with anthems sweet while shepherds watch are keeping? This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing; haste, haste to bring him laud, the Babe, the Son of Mary.
And suddenly they saw a whole band of angels, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward all.
VU 36 Angels from the Realms of Glory Verse 1 Words James Montgomery 1816. Music REGENT SQUARE Henry Thomas Smart 1867, alt.
Angels from the realms of glory, wing your flight o’er all the earth; ye who sang creation’s story, now proclaim Messiah’s birth: come and worship, come and worship, worship Christ the newborn King.
The next thing they knew, the angels were gone. The shepherds said to each other, “We have to go to Bethlehem, to see this for ourselves, because God has let us know about it.
VU 60 O Come, All Ye Faithful, V1 Words Latin John Francis Wade, ca. 1743. English Trans. Frederick Oakeley 1841, et. al,. Music ADESTE FIDELES attrib. John Francis Wade ca. 1743.
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.
They went as quickly as they could, and they found Mary, and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
VU 46 Gentle Mary Laid her Child v3 alt. tune Words Joseph Simpson Cook 1919 Music "Tempus adest floridum" 13th-century carol.
Gentle Mary laid her child lowly in a manger; he is still the undefiled, but no more a stranger. Son of God of humble birth, beautiful the story; praise his name in all the earth; hail the King of glory!
And they told everyone who would listen what they had been told about this child. Everybody was amazed by what the shepherds said. But Mary listened thoughtfully and remembered everything they said, and she thought about it often.
VU 8 Lo How a Rose, Verse 2, Words German 15th century, English Trans Theodore Baker 1894 Music ES IST EIN’ ROS German trad. melody 1599, Harm Michael Praetorius 1609
Isaiah ‘twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind, with Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind. To show God’s love aright she bore for us a Saviour when half spent was the night.
And the shepherds returned, praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, that happened just as they had been told.
VU 38 Angels We Have Heard on High v2 Words French Trad., trans James Chadwick 1860 Music French carol melody; arr. Edward Shippen Barnes 1937
Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong? What the gladsome tidings be which inspire your heavenly song? Gloria, in excelsis Deo! Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
SENDING: On a starry night a gift—a babe. Angels sing and hover in love. A new path now birthed by and with the God of all creation. This love abides in each one born and loves us beyond human thought. Rejoice on this night! Then, let this love spread like the stars. Written by Diane Trollope, Gathering, Advent/Christmas/Epiphany 2020-2021 p39
CANDLELIGHT: In the silence of Christmas Eve, light a candle if you have one. Sing along if you wish. And go forth to have a safe and blessed Christmas.
VU 66 Silent Night Words Joseph Mohr 1818, English Trans. John Freeman Young 1863, et al. Music STILLE NACHT Franz Xavier Gruber 1818
Silent night! Holy night! All is calm, all is bright round yon virgin, mother and child. Holy infant so tender and mild, sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace. Silent night! Holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight: glories stream from heaven afar, heavenly hosts sing Alleluia, Christ the Savior is born! Christ the Savior is born. Silent night! Holy night! Son of God, love's pure light radiant beams from thy holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.