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Celebrating God in the World! Readings, Carols and Prayers

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1 Celebrating God in the World! Readings, Carols and Prayers
Genesis 22:15-18 Roberts It came upon Jeremiah 23:5,6; 31:31-34 Salmon In the bleak Luke 1:26-38 Davidson The holly & the ivy Matthew 1: 18-25 Hynes O Little town Luke 2:1-7 Hallam Away in a manger Luke 2:8-20 Sawtell It was on a starry Matthew 2:1-15 Braddick We three Kings Colossians 1:15-20 Dolman Hark the herald

2 Welcome to Readings and Carols celebrating God’s presence in the world

3 Offering If you have brought money for an offering …
at the back of this church building there is: A plate for the work of this church A Jar for the work of Tear Fund overseas

4 Come to Bethlehem! Beloved in Christ, be it this Christmas Eve our care and delight to prepare ourselves to hear again the message of the angels: in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass, and with the Magi adore the Child lying in the manger. Let us read and mark in Holy Scripture the tale of the loving purposes of God from the days of Abraham to the glorious Redemption brought us by this Holy Child; and let us make this place glad with our carols of praise: Singing “O Come, all ye faithful”

5 O come, all ye faithful 1) 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, Christ the Lord! 2) God of God, Light of light, Lo, He abhors not the virgin’s womb; Very God, Begotten, not created: 3) Sing, choirs of angels, Sing in exultation, Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above; Glory to God In the highest:

6 Abraham The ancestor of all who listen to God and are obedient to God

7 Genesis 22:15-18 The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me." Pray for Peace… that those at war may hush the noise and hear the love-song of the angels:

8 It came upon a midnight clear
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, goodwill to men From heaven’s all gracious King!’ The world in solemn stillness lay To hear the angels sing.

9 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 blessèd angels sing.

10 Yet with woes of sin and strife The world has suffered long,
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled Two thousand years of wrong; And man, at war with man, hears not The love-song which they bring: O hush the noise, ye men of strife, And hear the angels sing.

11 For lo! the days are hastening on, By prophet bards foretold,
When with the ever-circling years Comes round the age of gold; When peace shall over all the earth Its ancient splendours fling, And all the world send back the song Which now the angels sing.

12 Not everyone in the bible is as good as Abraham at listening to God.
His descendants, the Israelites ignored God and suffered exile. However God spoke through the prophets to give them hope. These words of hope are words for us too whenever by disobeying God we cause hurt to others and to ourselves. Our hope is for a change of heart.

13 Jeremiah 23:5,6; 31:31-34 "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness. "The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. "This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." Prayer of confession and giving heart to God

14 In the bleak midwinter In the bleak midwinter, Frosty wind made moan;
Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone. Snow had fallen, snow on snow, Snow on snow; In the bleak midwinter, Long ago. Our God, heaven cannot hold Him, Nor earth sustain, Heaven and earth shall flee away~ When He comes to reign. In the bleak midwinter~ A stable-place sufficed The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

15 Angels and archangels May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim Thronged the air. But His mother only, In her maiden bliss, Worshipped the Belovèd with a kiss. What can I give Him, Poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb. If I were a wise man, I would do my part; Yet what I can I give Him Give my heart.

16 600 years later one ordinary day a young girl heard an extraordinary message Luke 1:26-38

17 Luke 1:26-38 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you." Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; his kingdom will never end."

18 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God." "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her. We thank God for his extraordinary involvement in our ordinary lives

19 The Holly and the Ivy The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown Of all the trees that are in the wood The holly bears the crown O the rising of the sun And the running of the deer The playing of the merry organ Sweet singing of the choir The holly bears a berry As red as any blood And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ To do poor sinners good The holly bears a bark As bitter as any gall; For to redeem us all. The holly bears a prickle, As sharp as any thorn, And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ, On Christmas Day in the morn

20 A fearful man needed reassurance about the extraordinary news
Matthew 1:18-25

21 Matthew 1:18-25 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

22 All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet:
"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"-- which means, "God with us." When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. Prayer for those who are fearful about what life brings them. “O Holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today our Lord, Immanuel”

23 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. O morning stars, together Proclaim the holy birth, And praises sing to God the King, And peace to men on earth; For Christ is born of Mary, And gathered all above, While mortals sleep, the angels keep Their watch of wondering love.

24 How silently, how silently The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts The blessings of His heaven. 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 Immanuel!

25 Mary and Joseph needed to remember to angels’ message of “Don’t be afraid” for what happened next

26 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:1-7 Prayer for those making journeys this Christmas Be near them, Lord Jesus; I ask you to stay Close by them for ever and love them, I pray

27 . 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 bright 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 You, Lord Jesus! Look down from the sky And stay by my side until morning is nigh. Be near me, Lord Jesus: I ask You to stay Close by me forever and love me, I pray; Bless all the dear children in Your tender care, And fit us for heaven to live with You there.

28 Luke 2:8-20 It wasn’t only the two people in love who heard the message “Don’t be afraid”. There were people out in the cold….

29 And there were shepherds living out in the fields near by, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests."

30 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
When the angels had left them and gone 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 about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Prayer for those who feel out in the cold, those who want to give up in life. “May they kneel and believe again”

31 It was on a starry night It was on a starry night
When the hills were bright, Earth lay sleeping, sleeping calm and still. Then in a cattle shed, In a manger bed, A boy was born, King of all the world. And all the angels sang for Him, The bells of heaven rang for Him, For a boy was born, King of all the world.

32 Soon the shepherds came that way Where the baby lay
And were kneeling, kneeling by His side. And their hearts believed again For the peace of men, For a boy was born, King of all the world. And all the angels sang for Him, The bells of heaven rang for Him, For a boy was born, King of all the world. And all the angels sang for Him,

33 In the 21st century it can feel that Jesus is a long way away, and that to find him we have to travel by faith. It was true 2000 years ago for some wise men … Matthew 2:1-12

34 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"

35 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. Pray for those who feel far away from God – “Guide them to thy perfect light”

36 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 night Star with royal beauty bright Westward leading, still proceeding Guide us to thy Perfect Light

37 Born a King on Bethlehem's plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again King forever, ceasing never Over us all to reign O Star of wonder, star of night Star with royal beauty bright Westward leading, still proceeding Guide us to thy Perfect Light

38 Frankincense to offer have I
Incense owns a Deity nigh Pray'r and praising, all men raising Worship Him, God most high O Star of wonder, star of night Star with royal beauty bright Westward leading, still proceeding Guide us to thy Perfect Light

39 Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes of life of gathering gloom Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying Sealed in the stone-cold tomb O Star of wonder, star of night Star with royal beauty bright Westward leading, still proceeding Guide us to thy Perfect Light

40 Glorious now behold Him arise
King and God and Sacrifice Alleluia, Alleluia Earth to heav'n replies O Star of wonder, star of night Star with royal beauty bright Westward leading, still proceeding Guide us to thy Perfect Light

41 Jesus is a truly extraordinary person

42 Colossians 1:15-20 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Thank God for the gift of Jesus, born to give us second birth

43 Hark! the herald angels sing
Hark! the herald angels 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!’

44 Christ, by highest heaven adored, Christ, the everlasting Lord,
Late in time behold Him come, Offspring of a virgin’s womb. Veiled in flesh the Godhead see! Hail the incarnate Deity! Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus, our Immanuel. Hark! the herald angels sing: ‘Glory to the new-born King.’

45 Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace! Hail, the Sun of righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings, Risen with healing in His wings, Mild, He lays His glory by; Born that men no more may die; Born to raise the sons of earth; Born to give them second birth. Hark! the herald angels sing: ‘Glory to the new-born King.’

46 May the Wonderful Counsellor
Guide you in any difficult decisions May the Mighty God Give you strength when you feel weak May the Everlasting Father Give you compassion for those around you May the Prince of Peace Bring peace to you and those you love

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