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Festival of Lesson and Carols  --  Advent 2021

 

One of the most beloved traditions of Advent and Christmas from England is a celebration (mostly held on Christmas Eve) called ”Festival of Lessons and Carols."  It began in 1918 and is centuries old where the Word of God is proclaimed in 9 Lesson & 17-20 carols. The sequence of reading draws us closer to our Lord marking our special relation with the Christ child. Our prayers, as well as choral and congregational Christmas songs are read and sung.  Our festival will feature readers from our community. Some adaptations have been made but not straying from our theme as provided by King's College Chapel, Cambridge University. It is a service of Christian worship.

Congregational CAROL -       Once In Royal David's City   
.
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.                    
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 Savior holy.

And through all His wondrous childhood
He would honor and obey,
Love and watch the lowly maiden,
In whose gentle arms He lay:
Christian children all must be
Mild, obedient, good as He

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 feeleth for our sadness,
And He shareth in our gladness.

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
                                     John Wainwright (1723-1768)

The Bidding Prayer  --  

Beloved  in Christ, be it this Christmas season our care and delight to hear the message of the angels in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem,  to see this thing which has come to pass, and with the shepherds and the wise men adore the child laying in his mothers arms. Let us read and mark in holy scripture the tale of the loving purpose of God from the first days of our disobedience eve unto glorious redemption brought to us by this Holy Child, and in the company of the whole church let us make this place dedicated to his pure and holy mother glad with our carols of praise. But first let us pray for the needs of the whole world. For peace and good will all over the earth. We pray for our soldiers at war, for poverty in Africa that it may cease. For our youth that they abide by Gods will and for Good Shepherd here and all Anglican Churches Worldwide and the entire Anglican faith. Let us also remember the poor and hunger, and the unloved, and those who know not the loving kindness of the lord. Let us also remember those who celebrate on another shore, that all may be counted in the communion of the lord, These prayer and praises we humbly offer up to the throne of heaven in the words Christ himself has taught us...


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 debts, As we forgive our debtors, And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil, For thine is the Kingdom, And the power, And the Glory Forever, Amen

The First Carol:   Joy To The World 
 
Joy to the world the Lord has come,
let earth receive her king
Let every heart prepare him room,
and heaven and nature sing, (R 3)
 
Joy to the world the savior reigns,
let men her songs employ
While field and fountains, rock hill and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,  (R 3)
 
No more let sin or sorrows grow, 
nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make his blessing flow,
Far as the curse is found (R 3)
 
He rules the earth with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness,
and wonders of his love

                              Words Isaac Watts (1674- 1748)                                                                                                                                                   Music:  George Handel  ( 1685-1759)
 
FIRST LESSON
God tells sinful Adam that he has lost the life of Paradise and that his seed will bruise the serpent's head.     
Reader:  Ms Sue Thomas                   Good Shepherd ACW
Reading 3rd Chapter of the Book of Genesis beginning at the 3rd Verse

And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat

And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.  Thanks be to God

The Second Carol:    O Little Town of Bethlehem
 
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.
 
For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth!
 
How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv'n;                                   
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav'n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,                     
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.
 
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!
                                            Words: Phillip Brooks (1820)                                                                          
   
 

 

SECOND LESSON 
God promises to faithful Abraham that in his seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.  
A Reading from the 22nd  chapter of the book of Genesis beginning at the 15th  verse.
Reader:             

And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.            Thanks be to God

The Third Carol -- Away in a Manger                         

 
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 on the hay.
 
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 till morning is nigh.
 
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 fit us for Heaven to live with Thee there
           
 

Words by William James Kirkpatrick   1838-1921
                              Music James Ramsey Murray  1841-1905
THE THIRD LESSON  
The Prophet foretells the coming of the Savior
A Reading from the 9th  Chapter of the book of Isaiah  beginning at the 2nd  verse.
Reader:       

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
         Thanks be to God

The Fourth Carol:           The Joy of Christmas      

Here we sing the joy of Christmas
Fal  la  la la la  la
Sing with praise in recognition

Fal  la  la la la  la 
Smile and share this joyous season
Fal  la  la la la  la

Lift your voices sweetly singing  
Fal  la  la la la  la
 
Read and Listen to the music
Fal  la  la la la  la 
From this hill  lets not forget it
Fal  la  la la la  la 
To God we give the glory
Fal  la  la la la  la
On this  eve of celebration
Fal  la  la la la  la
 
Stand now and shout the chorus
Fal  la  la la la  la 
Let the world hear Mary’s triumph
Fal  la  la la la  la
Christ is born and comes to us
Fal  la  la la la  la 
Greet him now in loud hosanna’s
Fal  la  la la la  la
     
                                 Words by Hartley 2016
 
THE FOURTH LESSON
The peace that Christ will bring is foreshown.
A reading from the 11th   Chapter of the book of Isaiah  beginning at the 1st  verse.
Reader:          

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:. But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.  Thanks be to God

The Fifth CAROL:        Silent Night, Holy Night                                                                                                
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 above,
Heavenly host sing alleluia,
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born
 
Silent night, Holy night,
Son of God loves pure light,
Radiant beams from thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace, 
Jesus Lord at thy birth, Jesus Lord at thy birth                                                                                                                     

    Words by Joseph Mohr 1792-1848                                                                                                                                              Music by Franz Gruber 1787 - 1863
The FIFTH LESSON
The Angel Gabriel salutes the Blessed Virgin Mary
A Reading from the 1st   Chapter of the Gospel of  St. Luke  beginning at the 26th  verse.
Reader:            

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.    And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.   Thanks be to God

The Sixth CAROL:       Angels From The Realm of Glory
Angels  from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight ore all the earth
Ye who sang creation story,
Now proclaim the savior birth
Come and worship, Come and worship,
Worship Christ the new born King
 
Shepherds in the field abiding,
Watching ore there flocks by night
God in man is now residing,
Yonder shines the infant light
Come and worship, Come and worship,
Worship Christ the new born King
 
Sages leave your contemplations, Brighter vision beams afar
Seek the great desire of nations,  Ye have seen the natal star 
Come and worship, Come and worship,
Worship Christ the new born King
 
All creations join in praising, God the father, sprit , son
Evermore your voices raising, To the eternal three in one
Come and worship, Come and worship,
Worship Christ the new born King
                           Words: James Montgomery 1771- 1854
               Music: Henry Thomas Smart 1813-1879
 
 
SIXTH LESSON        St Luke tells of the birth of Jesus.
A Reading from the 2nd  chapter of the gospel of St Luke beginning at the 1st verse.
Reader:                                     

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.     And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.  Thanks be to God

A melody: We Wish You a Merry Christmas

 

 The Seventh Carol:   While Shepherd Watched Their Flocks By Night 

While shepherds watch their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground
The angel of the Lord came down won,
And glory shone around
 
Fear not said he for mighty dread, Has seized their trouble mind
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
A savior who is Christ the lord,  
 And this shall be a sign
 
The heavenly babe you there shall find,
To human view display
All meanly wrapped in swaddling bands,
And in a manger lay
 
Thus spake the seraph and forthwith Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God on high, Who thus addressed their song,
Who thus addressed their song:

All glory be to go God on high, And to the earth be peace
Good will henceforth from heaven to men,
Begin and never cease.
                                         Words Nathan Tate (1625-1715)
 
SEVENTH LESSON          The shepherds go to the manger.
A Reading from the 2nd  chapter of the gospel of St. Luke  beginning at the 8th verse.
Reader:                            
 
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, 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, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.   Thanks be to God
 
 
The Eight Carol:    We Three Kings    
 
We three kings of Orient are; 
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.
 
O star of wonder, star of light, Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy perfect light.
 
Born a King on Bethlehem's plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again,                                          
King forever, ceasing never,
Over us all to reign.
 
Frankincense to offer have I;
Incense owns a Deity nigh;
Prayer and praising, voices raising,
Worshipping God on high.
 
Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,  
Sealed in the stone cold tomb.
 
Glorious now behold Him arise;                                                     
King and God and sacrifice;
Alleluia, Alleluia,
Sounds through the earth and skies.
                   Words  by John Hoskins
 
The Eight  Lesson.    The Wise men are led by the star to Jesus              A Reading from the 2nd  chapter of the gospel of  St. Matthew     beginning at the 1st  verse.
Reader:         

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judæa in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judæa: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.  

Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts, gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

The Ninth  Carol:       O Come All Ye Faithful
 
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;
CHORUS
O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.
 
Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation;
O sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest. CHORUS
 
Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation;
O sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest. CHORUS
 
See how the shepherds, summoned to His cradle,
Leaving their flocks, draw nigh to gaze;
We too will thither bend our joyful footsteps. CHORUS
 
Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing. CHORUS 
               Words & music: John Francis Wade 1830-1894
 
The Ninth Lesson.     St. John unfolds the great mystery of the Incarnation.
A Reading from the 1st  Chapter of the gospel of  St. John beginning at the 1st   verse.
Reader:        Mrs. Ethel Shanklin                GS Senior Warden
 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that light, but was sent to bear witness of that light. That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.   But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 
Thanks be to God
 
The Offertory

Notices ^ Wishes

The  Recessional Carol:         Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Hark the herald angles sing, Glory to the new born king
Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled
Joyful all ye nations rise,  Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim,  Christ is born in Bethlehem
Hark the herald angels sing, 
Glory to the new born king
 
Christ by highest heaven adore, Christ the everlasting king
Late in time behold him come,  Offspring of a virgin womb
Veiled in flesh the godhead see, Hail the incarnate deity
Please with man with man to dwell, Jesus our Emanuel
Hark the herald angels sing,
Glory to the new born king
 
Hail the heaven born price of peace,  Hail the son of righteousness
Light and life to all he brings,  Risen with healing in his wings
Mild he lays his glory by, Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give the second birth
Hark the herald angel’s sing,
Glory to the newborn king

                                                     Words Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

The Benediction…………

Prayer and Blessing
 
O God who makest us glad with the yearly remembrance of the birth of thy only son Jesus Christ, grant that we joyfully receive him for our redeemer, so that as we may with sure confidence behold him when he shall come to be our judge who liveth and reingth with thee and the holy sprit on god without end. Amen
 
C:  Go in peace this festival is over
P:  Thanks   be to God

                                            Organ Voltaire

 

Reaching Out to the World and..... Beyond
Under the Protection of the Cross
 
 

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