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Christmas Day – 25 December 2018

HYMN: O come, all ye faithful

Composer: J F Wade 1711-86 (arr. David Willcocks 1919-2015)
Sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey

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,

     O come, let us adore him,

     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,  Refrain


3. See how the shepherds, summoned to his cradle,

Leaving their flocks, draw nigh with lowly fear;

We too will thither bend our joyful footsteps;  Refrain

4. Child, for us sinners poor and in the manger,

Fain we embrace thee, with awe and love.

Who would not love thee, loving us so dearly?  Refrain


5. Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation,

Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above

Glory to God, glory in the highest.  Refrain


6. Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning;

Jesus, to thee be glory given;

Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;  Refrain


Words: Latin, J F Wade 1711-1786, ca. 1743; Tr. F Oakeley 1802-1880 and W T Brooke 1848-1917


Isaiah 9.2-7

The people who walked in darkness
     have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
     on them light has shined. 
You have multiplied the nation,
     you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
     as with joy at the harvest,
     as people exult when dividing plunder. 
For the yoke of their burden,
     and the bar across their shoulders,
     the rod of their oppressor,
     you have broken as on the day of Midian. 
For all the boots of the tramping warriors
     and all the garments rolled in blood
     shall be burned as fuel for the fire. 
For a child has been born for us,
     a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
     and he is named
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
     Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 
His authority shall grow continually,
     and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
     He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
     from this time onwards and for evermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. 


ANTHEM: Gabriel’s Message

Traditional Basque carol
Sung by Sting

1. The angel Gabriel from Heaven came

His wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame; 

‘All hail’, said he, ‘Thou lowly maiden Mary,’

     Most highly favoured Lady, Gloria!

2. ‘For known 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!

3. 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!

Words: Basque, Tr. Sabine Baring-Gould 1834-1924



Psalm 96

1 O sing to the Lord a new song:
sing to the Lord, all the earth.

2 Sing to the Lord and bless his holy name:
proclaim the good news of his salvation from day to day.

3 Declare his glory among the nations:
and his wonders among all peoples.

4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised:
he is more to be feared than all gods.

5 As for all the gods of the nations, they are mere idols:
it is the Lord who made the heavens.

6 Majesty and glory are before him:
beauty and power are in his sanctuary.

7 Render to the Lord, you families of the nations:
render to the Lord glory and might.

8 Render to the Lord the honour due to his name:
bring offerings and come into his courts.

9 O worship the Lord in the beauty of his holiness:
let the whole earth stand in awe of him.

10 Say among the nations that the Lord is king:
he has made the world so firm
that it can never be moved;
and he shall judge the peoples with equity.

11 Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad:
let the sea roar, and all that fills it:

12 Let the fields rejoice, and everything in them:
then shall all the trees of the wood
shout with joy before the Lord;

13 For he comes, he comes to judge the earth:
he shall judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with his truth.


ANTHEM: Carol of the Bells

Ukrainian traditional carol
Arranged and sung by Pentatonix

1. Hark how the bells,

Sweet silver bells,

All seem to say

Throw cares away.


2. Christmas is here

Bringing good cheer

To young and old

Meek and the bold.


3. Ding dong, ding dong,

That is their song

With joyful ring

All caroling.


4. One seems to hear

Words of good cheer

From everywhere

Filling the air.

5. Oh how they pound,

Raising their sound

O’er hill and dale

Telling their tale.


6. Gaily they ring

While people sing

Songs of good cheer.

Christmas is here!


7. Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas,

Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas.,


8. On, on they send

On without end

Their joyful tone

To every home.


Words: P J Wilhousky, 1936


HYMN: Silent night, holy night

Composer: F X Gruber 1787-1863 (arr. Andrew Lumsden b. 1962)
Sung by the choir of Winchester Cathedral

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.


2. Silent night, holy night!

       Shepherds first saw the light.

Glories stream from heaven afar,

       Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia,

Christ the Saviour is born!

Christ the Saviour is born!

3. 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.


Words: German, J Mohr, 1818, Tr. J F Young, 1859

Titus 2.11-14

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.


ANTHEM: Ding, dong! Merrily on high

Arranged by Malcolm Williamson 1931-2003
Sung by the choir of King’s College, Cambridge

1. Ding, dong! Merrily on high,

       In heaven the bells are ringing,

Ding, dong! Verily the sky

       Is riven with angel singing.

            Gloria! Hosanna in the highest!


2. E’en so here below, below,

       Let steeple bell be swungen,
And Io, Io, Io,

       By priest and people sungen.
            Gloria! Hosanna in the highest!


3. Pray ye dutifully, prime

       Your matin chime, ye ringers;

May you beautifully rime

       Your eve’time song, ye singers.
            Gloria! Hosanna in the highest!

ANTHEM: Donkey Carol

Composer: John Rutter (b. 1945)
Sung by the Cambridge Singers

Words: John Rutter – words copyright

Luke 2.1-20

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.


ANTHEM: Hymne à la Vierge (Hymn to the Virgin)

Composer: Pierre Villette 1926-98
Sung by Maîtrise de l’Académie Vocale de Paris

1. O fairest Virgin Mary, 
Your soul finds perfect love in the Lord; 
He clothes you in robes of grace 
Like a bride attired with jewels. 
I will sing your praise, 
O Lord, for you have taken care of me, 
and covered me with the veil of innocence. 

2. You were born before the hills, 
O wisdom of the Lord, 
Gate of Redemption, 
Happy is he who walks in your footsteps 
And attunes his heart to the counsels of your voice.
I will sing your praise, O Lord, 
For you have made me, before the daylight, 
You made me before the gushing springs. 

3. You were there before the stars,
Mother of the Creator, 
In the highest Heaven;
When God fixed the limits of the world
you shared his love as you laboured with him. 
O fairest Virgin Mary.  

Words: Roland Bouhéret– words copyright
English translation (translator unknown)

Reflection for  Christmas Day

Our time of eager, patient, and watchful anticipation has come to an end for in a manger on the outskirts of Bethlehem, a Child is born! What joy fills our hearts as shepherds, angels, and kings come to adore him! We are drawn to this pure, perfect, and loving babe who has chosen to live among us, as one of us, bringing us out of darkness into the bright celestial light of a loving and caring God. For now, it is enough to bask in the glow of his light. Venite adoremus!

  • Pray that all may experience the light of Christ’s life and love.
  • Pray for the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, giving thanks for the work they do to further God’s mission in the world.

Written by The Rev Laurette Glasgow, Special Advisor for Government Relations for the Anglican Church of Canada and the Diocese of Ottawa © Anglican Board of Mission, 2015


HYMN: Hark! the herald angels sing

Composer: Felix Mendelssohn 1809-47 (arr. David Willcocks 1919-2015)
Sung by the choir of Hereford Cathedral

1. Hark the herald angels sing

     Glory to the newborn 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 newborn King!”


2. 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 Emmanuel

Hark! The herald angels sing

     Glory to the newborn King!

3. Hail the heav’n-born Prince 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 them second birth

Hark! The herald angels sing

     Glory to the newborn King!


  Words: Charles Wesley 1707-1788 alt.