St John’s Carol Service

Carol – “Once in Royal David’s City

  1. Once in royal David’s city,
    Stood a lowly cattle shed,
    Where a mother laid her Baby,
    In a manger for His bed:
    Mary was that mother mild,
    Jesus Christ, her little Child.
     
  1. He came down to earth from heaven,
    Who is God and Lord of all,
    And His shelter was a stable,
    And His cradle was a stall:
    With the poor, and mean, and lowly,
    Lived on earth our Saviour holy.
     
  1. For He is our childhood’s pattern;
    Day by day, like us, He grew;
    He was little, weak, and helpless,
    Tears and smiles, like us He knew;
    And He cares when we are sad,
    And he shares when we are glad.
     
  1. And our eyes at last shall see Him,
    Through His own redeeming love;
    For that Child so dear and gentle,
    Is our Lord in heaven above:
    And He leads His children on,
    To the place where He is gone.

Bidding Prayer   

Beloved in Christ, at this Christmas-tide let it be our care and delight to hear again the message of the angels, and in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass, and the Babe lying in a manager.

Therefore let us read and mark in Holy Scripture the tale of the loving purposes of God from the first days of our disobedience unto the glorious Redemption brought to us by this Holy Child.

But first, let us pray for the needs of the whole world; for peace on earth and goodwill among all his people; for unity and brotherhood within the Church he came to build, and especially in this our community. And because this would rejoice his heart, let us remember, in his name, the poor and helpless, the cold, the hungry, and the oppressed; the sick and them that mourn, the lovely and the unloved, the aged and the little children; all those who know not the Lord Jesus, or who love him not, or who by sin have grieved his heart of love.                        

Our First Reading is – Genesis Chap: 3                           

God tells sinful Adam that he has lost the life of Paradise and that his seed will bruise the serpent’s head. 

8 That evening they heard the Lord God walking in the garden, and they hid from him among the trees.

9 But the Lord God called out to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden; I was afraid and hid from you, because I was naked.”

11 “Who told you that you were naked?” God asked. “Did you eat the fruit that I told you not to eat?”

12 The man answered, “The woman you put here with me gave me the fruit, and I ate it.”

13 The Lord God asked the woman, “Why did you do this?” She replied, “The snake tricked me into eating it.”

14 Then the Lord God said to the snake, “You will be punished for this; you alone of all the animals must bear this curse: From now on you will crawl on your belly, and you will have to eat dust as long as you live.

15 I will make you and the woman hate each other; her offspring and yours will always be enemies. Her offspring will crush your head, and you will bite her offspring’s heel.”

16 And he said to the woman, “I will increase your trouble in pregnancy and your pain in giving birth. In spite of this, you will still have desire for your husband, yet you will be subject to him.”

17 And he said to the man, “You listened to your wife and ate the fruit which I told you not to eat. Because of what you have done, the ground will be under a curse. You will have to work hard all your life to make it produce enough food for you.

18 It will produce weeds and thorns, and you will have to eat wild plants.

19 You will have to work hard and sweat to make the soil produce anything, until you go back to the soil from which you were formed. You were made from soil, and you will become soil again.”

 

All: Thanks be to God.

Carol – “Angels, from the Realms of Glory”

  1. 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.

Chorus:
Come and worship! Come and worship!
Worship Christ the newborn King!

  1. Shepherds, in the fields abiding,
    Watching o’er your flocks by night,
    God with man is now residing
    Yonder shines the infant light.
     

Chorus:
Come and worship! Come and worship!
Worship Christ the newborn King!

  1. Sages, leave your contemplations,
    Brighter visions beam afar;
    Seek the great Desire of nations,
    Ye have seen his natal star.

Chorus:
Come and worship! Come and worship!
Worship Christ the newborn King!

  1. Saints, before the alter bending,
    Watching long in hope and fear,
    Suddenly the Lord, descending,
    In His temple shall appear.

Chorus:
Come and worship! Come and worship!
Worship Christ the newborn King!
 

Our Second Reading is – Isaiah Chap: 9         

To a world lacking just and righteous leaders comes the promise of a Prince of Peace.

2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. They lived in a land of shadows, but now light is shining on them.

6 A child is born to us! A son is given to us! And he will be our ruler. He will be called, “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,” “Prince of Peace.”

7 His royal power will continue to grow; his kingdom will always be at peace. He will rule as King David’s successor, basing his power on right and justice, from now until the end of time. The Lord Almighty is determined to do all this. 

Carol – “Away in a Manger”

  1. Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
    The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
    The stars in the sky looked down where he lay,
    The little Lord Jesus asleep in the hay.
  2. The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
    But little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.
    I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky
    And stay by my cradle til morning is nigh.
  3. Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
    Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
    Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
    And take us to heaven, to live with Thee there.

Thanks be to God.

Prayers 

Our Third Reading is – Luke 2                             

Angels bring the message of Jesus’ birth not to priests or princes, but to working shepherds.

8 There were some shepherds in that part of the country who were spending the night in the fields, taking care of their flocks.

9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone over them. They were terribly afraid,

10 but the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people.

11 This very day in David’s town your Savior was born – Christ the Lord!

12 And this is what will prove it to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great army of heaven’s angels appeared with the angel, singing praises to God:

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them back into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and saw the baby lying in the manger. 

All: Thanks be to God. 

Carol – “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night”

  1. While shepherds watched
    Their flocks by night
    All seated on the ground
    The angel of the Lord came down
    And glory shone around

    “Fear not,” he said,
    For mighty dread
    Had seized their troubled minds
    “Glad tidings of great joy I bring
    To you and all mankind,

    “To you in David’s
    Town this day
    Is born of David’s line
    The Saviour who is Christ the Lord
    And this shall be the sign

    You there shall find
    To human view displayed
    And meanly wrapped
    In swathing bands
    And in a manger laid

    Thus spake the seraph,
    And forthwith
    Appeared a shining throng
    Of angels praising God, who thus
    Addressed their joyful song

    “All glory be to God on high
    And to the earth be peace;
    Goodwill henceforth
    From heaven to men
    Begin and never cease

Our Forth Reading is       Micah Chap: 5

A world in despair is told where to look for a new beginning.

2 The Lord says, “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are one of the smallest towns in Judah, but out of you I will bring a ruler for Israel, whose family line goes back to ancient times.”

3 So the Lord will abandon his people to their enemies until the woman who is to give birth has her son. Then those Israelites who are in exile will be reunited with their own people.

4 When he comes, he will rule his people with the strength that comes from the Lord and with the majesty of the Lord God himself. His people will live in safety because people all over the earth will acknowledge his greatness,

All: Thanks be to God.

Carol – “Unto us is born a son”

  1. 1 Unto us a boy is born!
    The King of all creation,
    Came he to a world forlorn,
    The Lord of ev’ry nation.

    2 Cradled in a stall was he
    With sleepy cows and asses;
    But the very beasts could see
    That he the world surpasses.

    3 Herod then with fear was filled:
    “A prince,” he said, “in Jewry!”
    And all the little boys he killed
    At Bethl’hem in his fury.

  2. Now may Mary’s son, who came
    So long ago to love us,
    Lead us all with hearts aflame
    Unto the joys above us.

    5 Alpha and Omega he!
    Now let the organ thunder,
    While the choir with peals of glee
    Shall rend the air asunder. 

Our Fifth reading is – Luke Chap: 1 

A young girl is told by the angel that she will be the mother of God’s Son.

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy God sent the angel Gabriel to a town in Galilee named Nazareth.

27 He had a message for a young woman promised in marriage to a man named Joseph, who was a descendant of King David. Her name was Mary.

28 The angel came to her and said, “Peace be with you! The Lord is with you and has greatly blessed you!”

29 Mary was deeply troubled by the angel’s message, and she wondered what his words meant.

30 The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary; God has been gracious to you.

31 You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.

32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God. The Lord God will make him a king, as his ancestor David was,

33 and he will be the king of the descendants of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end!”

34 Mary said to the angel, “I am a virgin. How, then, can this be?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and God’s power will rest upon you. For this reason the holy child will be called the Son of God.

36 Remember your relative Elizabeth. It is said that she cannot have children, but she herself is now six months pregnant, even though she is very old.

37 For there is nothing that God cannot do.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” said Mary; “may it happen to me as you have said.” And the angel left her. 

All: Thanks be to God. 

Carol – “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”

  1. It came upon the midnight clear,
    that glorious song of old,
    from angels bending near the earth
    to touch their harps of gold:
    “Peace on the earth, good will to men,
    from heaven’s all-gracious King.”
    The world in solemn stillness lay,
    to hear the angels sing.
  2. Still through the cloven skies they come
    with peaceful wings unfurled,
    and still their heavenly music floats
    o’er all the weary world;
    above its sad and lowly plains,
    they bend on hovering wing,
    and ever o’er its Babel sounds
    the blessed angels sing.
  3. And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
    whose forms are bending low,
    who toil along the climbing way
    with painful steps and slow,
    look now! for glad and golden hours
    come swiftly on the wing.
    O rest beside the weary road,
    and hear the angels sing!
  4. For lo! the days are hastening on,
    by prophet seen of old,
    when with the ever-circling years
    shall come the time foretold
    when peace shall over all the earth
    its ancient splendours fling,
    and the whole world send back the song
    which now the angels sing. (by
    Edmund H. Sears – 1849)

Church of England – Intercessional Prayer for Christmas

Holy Jesus,
by being born one of us,
and lying humbly in a manger,
you show how much God loves the world.
Let the light of your love always shine in our hearts,
until we reach our home in heaven,
and see you on your throne of glory.

All: Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ,
your birth at Bethlehem
draws us to kneel in wonder at heaven touching earth:
accept our heartfelt praise
as we worship you,
our Saviour and our eternal God.

All: Amen.

Loving Jesus,
you were born in a stable but worshipped by the angels.
Be with (N. and) all who are lonely,
and with all who feel distant from celebrations.
Be for us a living hope that lightens their hearts.

All: Amen.

Jesus, as you healed the sick,
bring healing to those in our families who are ill today.
Jesus, Lord of love,

All: In your mercy, hear us.

Christ born for us,
Son of God, given for us,
help us to know you,
to worship and to serve you.

All: Amen.

The kings, Lord,
brought myrrh, frankincense, and gold.
Lord, we have nothing of our own to bring;
we bring you what you have given:
our lives for your life.

All: Amen.

.Jesus, Saviour, son of Mary,
you know us and love us,
you share our lives
and hear our prayer.
Glory to you for ever.

All: Amen.

May God, who has called us out of darkness
into his marvellous light,
bless us and fill us with peace.

All: Amen.

Christ, for whom there was no room in the inn,
give courage to all who are homeless;
in your mercy

All: Hear our prayer.

Christ, who fled into Egypt,
give comfort to all refugees;
in your mercy

All: Hear our prayer.

Christ, who fasted in the desert,
give relief to all who are starving;
in your mercy

All: Hear our prayer.

Christ, who hung in agony on the cross,
give strength to all who suffer;
in your mercy

All: Hear our prayer.

Lord of the Church

All: Hear our prayer,
and make us one in heart and mind
to serve you with joy for ever.

Amen.

Our Sixth Reading is – John Chap:  1

Through Jesus the whole world was created. Yet when he came into the world few welcomed him. Those who did were given the right to be called children of God. 

1 In the beginning the Word already existed; the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 From the very beginning the Word was with God.

3 Through him God made all things; not one thing in all creation was made without him.

4 The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to people.

5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out.

6 God sent his messenger, a man named John,

7 who came to tell people about the light, so that all should hear the message and believe.

8 He himself was not the light; he came to tell about the light.

9 This was the real light – the light that comes into the world and shines on all people.

10 The Word was in the world, and though God made the world through him, yet the world did not recognize him.

11 He came to his own country, but his own people did not receive him.

12 Some, however, did receive him and believed in him; so he gave them the right to become God’s children.

13 They did not become God’s children by natural means, that is, by being born as the children of a human father; God himself was their Father.

14 The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us. We saw his glory, the glory which he received as the Father’s only Son. 

All: Thanks be to God. 

Prayer and Benediction.                             

May he who by his Incarnation gathered into one things earthly and heavenly, fill you with the sweetness of inward peace and goodwill; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be upon you and remain with you always

All: Amen

Carol – “Silent Night, Holy Night”

  1. 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.
     
  1. Silent night, holy night!
    Shepherds quake at the sight.
    Glories stream from heaven afar
    Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia,
    Christ the Saviour is born!
    Christ the Saviour is born.
     
  1. Silent night, holy night!
    Son of God love’s pure light.
    Radiant beams from Thy holy face
    With dawn of redeeming grace,
    Jesus Lord, at Thy birth.
    Jesus Lord, at Thy birth
    . 

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year. 

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