January 2nd, 2021. Christmas Festival of Readings and Music.


Christmas Festival of Readings and Music

January 2nd, 2021



Prelude: What Child Is This? Shelly and Rachel Duet


Acknowledgement


Welcome


Opening Hymn: Light One Candle.


Light one candle for the Maccabee children With thanks that their light didn't die, Light one candle for the pain they endured When their right to exist was denied; Light one candle for the terrible sacrifice Justice and freedom demand, But light one candle for the wisdom to know When the peacemaker's time is at hand.


Don't let the light go out, it's lasted for so many years; Don't let the light go out, let it shine through our hope and our tears.


Light one candle for the strength that we need To never become our own foe, And light one candle for those who are suffering Pain we learned so long ago; Light one candle for all we believe in That anger not tear us apart, And light one candle to bind us together With peace as the song in our heart.


Don't let the light go out, it's lasted for so many years; Don't let the light go out, let it shine through our hope and our tears.


Don't let the light go out, it's lasted for so many years; Don't let the light go out, let it shine through our hope and our tears.


And what is the memory that's valued so highly That we keep it alive in that flame? What the commitment to those who have died We cry out, They've not died in vain! We have come this far, always believing That justice will somehow prevail; This is the verdict, this is the promise, This is why we will not fail


Don't let the light go out, it's lasted for so many years; Don't let the light go out, let it shine through our hope and our tears.


Don't let the light go out, it's lasted for so many years; Don't let the light go out, let it shine through our hope and our tears.


Don't let the light go out Don't let the light go out Don't let the light go out



A Bidding for Christmas

My sisters and brothers in Christ, in this season when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, let it be our duty and delight to hear once more the message of the angels and go in heart and mind to Bethlehem to see the Son of God lying in a manger


As we hear the reading of God’s holy word, let us

· join with Mary, the favoured handmaid, and offer ourselves in service to God’s holy and saving purpose for the world (Luke 1)

· magnify the God of mercy who breaks the power of tyrants and exalts the humble (Luke 1)

· bless the name of the God of our salvation who brings the dawn of forgiveness and salvation to those who live in the shadow of death and despair (Luke 1)

· raise our voices with the messenger who announces good news of great joy to all people (Luke 2)


As we mark once more the mystery of the Word made flesh,

let us join with the song of angels and saints and make this place ring with our carols and hymns of praise.


But first, let us remember the poverty of the birth of the Prince of Peace, and pray for the poor, the cold, the hungry, and those among us who find that there is no room for them at the inn.


Let us remember the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt, and pray for the oppressed, refugees, the isolated, and those on the edges of our society.


Let us remember that the Lord of Glory experienced the pain of life and death, and pray for the sick, the anxious, the weary, and the bereaved.


And remembering the promise that he shall reign for ever and ever,

let us pray for the rulers of the nations,

for peace and justice on earth,

for the unity and mission of the Church,

that we may be a sign that God’s rule on earth

has already begun.


With joy in our hearts,

let us hear again the story of the birth of Christ,

and join with Mary and Joseph,

with shepherds and wise men,

and with all our forebears in faith in offering our worship.



CAROL: The King of Glory Comes. CP632


The King of glory comes, the nation rejoices. Open the gates before him, lift up your voices. Who is the King of glory? What shall we call him? He is Emmanuel, the promised of ages. The King of glory comes, the nation rejoices. Open the gates before him, lift up your voices. In all of Galilee, in city or village, he goes among his people, curing their illness. The King of glory comes, the nation rejoices. Open the gates before him, lift up your voices. He gave his life for us, the pledge of salvation;

he took upon himself the sin of the nations. The King of glory comes, the nation rejoices. Open the gates before him, lift up your voices. He conquered sin and death; he truly has risen. And he will share with us his heavenly vision.


The King of glory comes, the nation rejoices. Open the gates before him, lift up your voices.


Isaiah 7.10–15 (The young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel)

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. Then Isaiah said: ‘Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.



Prayer

God of hope, look upon those who live with despair as their companion. Give them signs of your healing presence and of your eternal purpose of salvation. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.



CAROL: A Baby Just Like You Words and Music by John Denver and Joe Henry.


The season is upon us now a time for gifts and giving. And as the year draws to it’s close, I think about my living: The Christmas time when I was young, the magic and the wonder, But colours dull and candles dim and dark my standing under. Oh, little angel, shining light, you've set my soul to dreaming. You've given back my joy in life, you filled me with new meaning. A savior King was born that day, a baby just like you, And as the Wise Men came with gifts I’ve come with my gift too: That peace on earth fills up your time and brotherhood surrounds you, That you may know the warmth of love and wrap it all around you. It's just a wish, a dream I'm told from days when I was young, Merry Christmas little baby, Merry Christmas everyone. Merry Christmas little baby, Merry Christmas everyone.




Luke 1.5–25 (Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John)

In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.

Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. Now at the time of the incense-offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’ Zechariah said to the angel, ‘How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.’ The angel replied, ‘I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.’

Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah, and wondered at his delay in the sanctuary. When he did come out, he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept motioning to them and remained unable to speak. When his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, ‘This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favourably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.’



Prayer

Almighty God, who sent your servant John the Baptist to prepare your people to welcome the Messiah, inspire us, the ministers and stewards of your truth, to turn our disobedient hearts to you, that when the Christ shall come again to be our judge, we may stand with confidence before his glory; who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.



CAROL: The Angel Gabriel.


The angel Gabriel from heaven came. his wings as drifted snow, his eyes a flame. All hail, said he, thou lowly maiden Mary, most highly favoured lady, Gloria.

For know a blessed Mother thou shalt be, all generations laud and honour thee, thy Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold,

most highly favoured lady, Gloria.

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head, To me be as it pleaseth God, she said, my soul shall laud and magnify his holy Name. Most highly favoured lady, Gloria.


Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ, was born In Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn, and Christian folk throughout the world will ever say, Most highly favoured lady. Gloria!

The angel Gabriel from heaven came. his wings as drifted snow, his eyes a flame, All hail, said he, thou lowly maiden Mary, most highly favoured lady, Gloria.

Gloria! Gloria! Gloria!



Luke 1.26–38 (Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you)

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.


Prayer

Pour your grace into our hearts, O Lord, that we who have known the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


CAROL: Mary, Did You Know? Words and Music by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene


Mary, did you know that your baby boy would some-day walk on water? Mary, did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters? Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new? This child that you delivered, will soon deliver you.


Mary, did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man? Mary, did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?

Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod? When you’ve kissed your little baby, then you’ve kissed the face of God.

Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?

The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again, The lame will leap, the dumb will speak the praises of the Lamb.

Mary, did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation? Mary, did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations? Did you know that your baby boy was Heaven's perfect Lamb? This sleeping child you're holding is the great, “I Am.”



Luke 1.39–46 (My soul magnifies the Lord)

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’

And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord


Prayer

Almighty God, who looked with favour on your servant Mary, and called her to be the mother of your Son, nurture in us the humility and gentleness that found favour in your sight, that with her we may proclaim the greatness of your name and find the mercy you show to those who fear you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.



CAROL: In Bethlehem Words and Music by Gordon Light


Feel the pow’r of Herod’s might,

feel the weight of Rome tonight,

feel the cruel cords draw tight

in Bethlehem.


See the scorn in cold steel blade,

see destruction’s dark parade,

see the hopes of people fade

in Bethlehem.


Sing, angels! Sing your song!

Song of love that overcomes,

song to still the bitter drum,

in Bethlehem.


Sing! Mary! Sing your joy!

Song of love in a baby boy,

song of hope none can destroy

in Bethlehem!


Fell the oppression’s of heavy chains,

see the armies march again,

see the world gone all insane:

sad requiem.


Hear the cry of refugee,

feel the lash of tyranny,

hard struggle to be free

from callous hand.


Sing, angels! Sing your song!

Help us hear and sing along,

sing to make our hearts grow strong

and still the storm.


Sing, Mary! Sing your joy!

Tell us of your baby boy,

birth of hope none can destroy,

our Bethlehem!


House of Stone or House of Bread?

Prison house or mercy bed?

Can we see love’s fountain head

in Bethlehem?


Take from us the stone cold heart!

Take away the cheerless dark!

Bring to life the flickering spark

of Bethlehem.


Sing, angels! Sing again!

Sing today as you did then,

sing of loveliness new born

in Bethlehem.


Sing, Mary! Sing once more,

the tender song you sang before,

sing of love that has endured

from Bethlehem!



Luke 1.57–80 (Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favourably on his people and redeemed them)

Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. Her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.

On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, ‘No; he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘None of your relatives has this name.’ Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And all of them were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. Fear came over all their neighbours, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. All who heard them pondered them and said, ‘What then will this child become?’ For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.

Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy: ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favourably on his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a mighty saviour for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins. By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.’

The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day he appeared publicly to Israel.


Prayer

Almighty God, you called John the Baptist to give witness to the coming of your Son and to prepare his way. Give your people wisdom to see your purpose, and openness to hear your will, that we too may witness to Christ’s coming and so prepare his way; through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


CAROL: One Small Child. Words and Music by David Meece


One small child in a land of a thousand, One small dream of a Savior tonight, One small hand reaching out to the starlight,

One small city of life,

One small city of life. One king bringing his gold and riches, One king ruling an army of might, One king kneeling with incense and candlelight, One king bringing us life. Oh


See Him lying, a cradle beneath Him, see Him smiling in the stall. See His mother praising His father, See His tiny eyelids fall.


One small light from the flame of a candle,

One small light from a city of might,

One small light from the stars in the endless night,

One small light from His face. Oh

See the shepherds kneeling before Him, see the kings on bended knee. See the mother praising His father, see the blessed infant sleep.


One small child in a land of a thousand, One small dream in a people of might, One small hand reaching out to the starlight, One small Saviour of life,

One small Saviour of life.



Luke 2.1–20 (To you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord)

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.


Prayer

O God our Father, whose Word has come among us in the Holy Child of Bethlehem, may the light of faith illumine our hearts and shine in our words and deeds; through him who is Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


CAROL: New Star Shining. Words and Music by Johanna Hall and John Hall


They didn't own a house; no crib, no toys were waiting. Still, they had their love for the child they were anticipating. He was born one winter night on a road between two towns. They wrapped him up so warm and tight, and said “It looks like heaven's come down.”

There was a new star shining in the sky up above. By His light, that winter night, they found peace and perfect love. If we want to find it, I know we always will, ‘cause that new star is shining for us still.

He worried how to feed Him. Simple trade was all they knew. It was hard enough to make ends meet when they were only two. But the cold, the dark, and hunger couldn't take away their joy. And she knew that they would find a way for their precious baby Boy

There was a new star shining in the sky up above. By its light, that winter night, they found peace and perfect love. If we want to find it, I know we always will, ‘cause that new star is shining for us still.



Matthew 2:1-12 The Visit of the Wise Men

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: “And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.” ’

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.’ When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.



Incarnation Litany

(In joy and humility let us pray to the creator of the universe, saying, “Lord, grant us peace.”)


By the good news of our salvation brought to Mary by the angel, hear us, O Lord.

Lord, grant us peace.


By the mystery of the Word made flesh, hear us, O Lord.

Lord, grant us peace.


By the birth in time of your timeless Son, hear us, O Lord.

Lord, grant us peace.


By the manifestation of your radiant glory to the shepherds and magi, hear us, O Lord,

Lord, grant us peace.


By the submission of the maker of the world to Mary and Joseph of Nazareth, hear us, O Lord.

Lord, grant us peace.


By the baptism of the Son of God in the river Jordan, hear us, O Lord.

Lord, grant us peace.


Grant that the kingdoms of this world may become the kingdom of our Saviour Jesus Christ; hear us, O Lord.

Lord, grant us peace.


Collect

Almighty God, you wonderfully created and yet more wonderfully restored our human nature. May we share the divine life of your Son Jesus Christ, who humbled himself to share our humanity, and now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Lord’s Prayer

As our Saviour taught us, let us pray,


Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread and forgive us our sins. As we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours. Now and forever. Amen.



Blessing

May the God of infinite goodness scatter the darkness of sin and brighten your hearts with holiness; and the blessing of God almighty, the undivided Trinity, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.


CAROL: The First Noel. CP139


The first Noel the angel did say was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay, in fields where they lay keeping their sheep on a cold winter's night that was so deep.


Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel.


They looked up and saw a star, shining in the east, beyond them far; and to the earth it gave great light, and so it continued both day and night.


Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel.


And by the light of that same star three wise men came from country far; to seek for a king was their intent, and to follow the star wherever it went.


Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel.


This star drew nigh to the northwest, o'er Bethlehem it took its rest, and there it did both stop and stay, right over the place where Jesus lay.


Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel.


Then entered in those wise men three, full reverently upon the knee, and offered there, in his presence, their gold and myrrh and frankincense.


Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel.


Then let us all with one accord

sing praises to our heavenly Lord,

who has made heaven and earth of nought,

and with his blood salvation bought.


Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel.



Dismissal

Alleluia! Alleluia! Go in peace to proclaim God’s Word made flesh. Thanks be to God. Alleluia! Alleluia!


Postlude: Mary’s Little Boy Child. Words and Music by Jester Hairston


Long time ago in Bethlehem, so the Holy Bible say, Mary's boy child, Jesus Christ was born on Christmas day.

Hark! Now hear the angels sing, New King was born today. And we will live forever-more because of Christmas day.


While shepherds watched their flocks by night, they saw a bright new shining star, and heard a choir from heaven sing the music came from afar.

Hark! Now hear the angels sing, New King was born today. And we will live forever-more because of Christmas day.


Now Joseph and his wife Mary, came to Bethlehem that night.

They found no place to bear her child, not a single room was in sight.

By and by they found a little nook in a stable all forlorn,

and in a manger, cold and dark, Mary’s little boy child was born.

Hark! Now hear the angels sing, New King was born today. And we will live forever-more because of Christmas day.

Hark! Now hear the angels sing, New King was born today. And we will live forever-more because of Christmas day.


Because of Christmas day.