Christmas Eve 2020: Service of Carols, Lessons and Candles

At MHUMC we love to celebrate Christmas Eve with a service of Candles and Carols.  We retell the Christmas story with a tapestry of scripture readings and songs of the season, capped off with singing “Silent Night” by candlelight.

This year, while we are still unable to meet all together in the Sanctuary due to social distancing protocols, we are offering this service as a recorded experience you can participate in from your home.

Follow the entire service in the video here, or go at your own pace with portions of the service provided below. Note that the video has a “Closed Caption” transcript, accessible by clicking the CC button at the bottom of the video window.

The prelude sets the mood for the service.  “Greensleeves” is a traditional tune, played by our pianist Wanda Garrett.

Choral Introit is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” The United Methodist Hymnal #211, sung by our choir, with piano accompaniment by Denise Melroy and guitar by Steve Cole.

O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

 

O come, thou Wisdom from on high, and order all things far and nigh;
to us the path of knowledge show and cause us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Words of welcome and greeting by Pastor Patrick

May the love of God, the grace of Christ, the friendship and peace of the Holy Spirit, be your experience during this time of worship as we hear again the Christmas story through carols, candles, and lessons.

Our vision, as a faith community, is to create an inclusive, reconciling and progressive spiritual community that welcomes all people based on the teaching of Jesus “to love one another” (John 13:34-35).

Here, in this place, all are welcome;
Here, human diversity matters;
Here, open minds matter.
Here, prayerful hearts guided by spirit and rooted in scripture, tradition, reason and human experience matter.

Lighting of the Christ Candle, with the Richardson family.

As we light the Christ Candle today and begin our Christmas journey, let us remember how —
The Hope of Advent inspired us;
The Love of Advent guided us;
The Joy of Advent excited us;
And the Peace of Advent calmed us.

By lighting the Christ candle we affirm the Christ who lives in our hearts;
who fulfills our hope, consummates our love, completes our joy,
and brings peace on earth and good will to all people.
(All five Advent candles are lit.)

Please Pray With Me:
Emmanuel, you are the Everlasting Light.
Help us to bring your love everywhere we go.
Penetrate our hearts and spirits so fully that
our lives will be a radiant reflection of your glory.
This we pray, Amen.

Learn more about the candles in the Advent wreath.

The Richardson family lights Advent candles
The Richardson family lights all four Advent candles and the Christ Candle
“O Come, All Ye Faithful,” The United Methodist Hymnal #234.  Sing along with our choir, with piano accompaniment by Denise Melroy and guitar by Steve Cole.

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.

 

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation;
O sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest;
O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

 

Our first lesson is found in Isaiah 9:2, 6-7, read by Dan Hazen.  The Prophet Isaiah tells of the birth of a child who will bring hope, love, joy and peace to the people.

“A Star Shone Bright,” from Worship & Song #3051.  Sing along with the accompaniment played by our pianist Denise Melroy and guitarist Steve Cole.

A star shone bright across the plain and calmed the earth so Love could reign.
‘Twas in a child that hope was born, a dream fulfilled! O happy morn!

 

O Son of God, Incarnate Word, O Wisdom’s Light, whom angels heard,
come forth again, our hearts console. O heal our hurts and make us whole.

 

From Bethlehem come to our day; reveal to us your holy way.
Be born again, Eternal Fire. O Spirit come, our souls inspire.

Our second lesson is Luke 1:26-35, 38, read by Margaret Hazen. The archangel Gabriel tells Mary she will have a baby, who will be called Son of God.

“Away in a Manger,” The United Methodist Hymnal #217.  Sing along with our choir, with piano accompaniment by Denise Melroy and guitar by Steve Cole.

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 high.

Our third lesson continues our readings from the Gospel of St. Luke.  Debbie Ullman reads Luke 2:1, 3-7, which tells of the birth of Jesus.

“He is Born/Il Est Né,” a traditional song sung by our MHUMC choir and recorded on the CD “Songs of This Raggedy Band 2006.”

Refrain: He is born, the divine Christ Child;
play the oboe and bagpipes merrily!
He is born, the divine Christ Child; sing we all of the Savior mild.

 

Through long ages of the past, prophets have foretold His coming;
through long ages of the past, now the time has come at last! [Refrain]

 

O how lovely, O how pure is this perfect Child of heaven;
O how lovely, O how pure, gracious gift to humankind!
[ Refrain]

 

Jesus, Lord of all the world, coming as a Child among us;
Jesus, Lord of all the world, grant to us Thy heavenly peace. [Refrain]

Our fourth lesson continues our readings from the Gospel of St. Luke.  In Luke 2:8-16, Kathryn Airoldi tells us of the shepherds who go to the manger to see the newborn child, Christ the Lord.

Special music:  “O Holy Night,” sung by Bill Tindall.

Our fifth lesson comes from the Gospel of St. Matthew.  In Matthew 2:1-12, Robert Airoldi tells of the wise men, who came from other countries, following a star to the place where the Christ child was born.

“View the Promise Through the Present” from Worship & Song #3048.  Sing along with the accompaniment played by our pianist Denise Melroy.

View the present through the promise, Christ will come again.
Trust despite the deepening darkness, Christ will come again.
Lift the world above its grieving through your watching and believing
in the hope past hope’s conceiving: Christ will come again.

 

Probe the present with the promise, Christ will come again.
Let your daily actions witness, Christ will come again.
Let your loving and your giving and your justice and forgiving
be a sign to all the living: Christ will come again.

 

Match the present to the promise, Christ will come again.
Make this hope your guiding premise, Christ will come again.
Pattern all your calculating and the world you are creating
to the advent you are waiting: Christ will come again.

Our final lesson comes from the Gospel of St. John. Listen as Trish Catalano reads John 1:1-14, where John tells of the mystery of the incarnation, which is God becoming flesh and living among us.

As we prepare to close our service, please join in singing this carol, and as we sing, we invite you to light a candle in your own home.  Imagine all of us lighting our candles together with you and singing “Silent Night” together as one church family.

“Silent Night,” The United Methodist Hymnal #239.  Sing along with our choir, with piano accompaniment by Denise Melroy and guitar by Steve Cole.

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 afar, heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born!

 

Silent night, holy night, Song 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.

 

Silent night, holy night, wondrous star, lend thy light;
with the angels let us sing, Alleluia to our King;
Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born!

Benediction and sending forth

Go forth into this Christmastide with Hope in your heart,
Go and share the Love of God,
Go and with Joy, tell the Good News,
Go with the message of Peace on Earth, Amen and Amen!


Credits and copyrights

Thank you to our musicians Denise Melroy (piano) and Steve Cole (guitar), and our vocalists Steve Cole, Wanda Garrett, Janet Ohene-Nyako, Koiwa Ohene-Nyako Mattia, Mary Richardson, and David Stolowitz.

We also thank Matthew Hendrickson (videographer) and David Tuttle (video and audio production).

  • “Greensleeves” is a traditional tune arr. by Lee Evans.
  • “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” words from 9th cent. Latin, 2nd vs. by Henry Sloane Coffin; music 15th cent. French, arr. and harm. by Thomas Helmore. © Public domain.
  • “O Come, All Ye Faithful” words and music by John F. Wade. © Public domain.
  • “A Star Shone Bright” words by F. Richard Garland, with English folk melody harm. by Dean McIntyre. © CCLI License #2718708
  • “He is Born/Il Est Né” words and music traditional French. © Public domain.
  • “O Holy Night” words by Placide Cappeau, translated from French to English by John Sullivan Dwight; tune by Adolphe Charles Adam. © Public domain.
  • “View the Present through the Promise” words by Thomas H. Troeger, with traditional Welsh melody harm. by Luther Orlando Emerson. © CCLI License #2718708
  • “Silent Night” words traditional French carol, music traditional French, arr. by Edward Shippen Barnes, harm. by Austin C. Lovelace. © Public domain.

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