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Our worship begins at the sound of the bell, please stand as the choir and the sacred ministers enter.

(Choir)
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.

(Choir)
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 Saviour holy.

(All)
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.

(All)
Not in that poor lowly stable,
With the oxen standing by,
We shall see him; but in heaven,
Set at God’s right hand on high;
When like stars his children crowned
All in white shall wait around.

Words: C. F. Alexander (1818-1895)
 Music: H. J. Gauntlett (1805-1876)
Verses 1-3 harmonised by A. H. Mann (1850-1929)
 Verse 4 arranged by D. V. Willcocks (1919-2015)

Please remain standing.

Bidding Prayer

Beloved in Christ, be it this Christmas-tide our care and delight to hear again the message of the angels, and in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass, and the Babe lying in a manger.

Therefore, let us read and mark in Holy Scripture the tale of the loving purposes of God from the first days of our disobedience unto the glorious redemption brought us by this Holy Child.

But first, let us pray for the needs of the whole world; for peace on earth and goodwill among all his people; for unity and brotherhood within the Church he came to build, and especially in this city and diocese.

And because this of all things would rejoice his heart, let us remember, in his name, the poor and helpless, the cold, the hungry and the oppressed; the sick and them that mourn, the lonely and the unloved; the aged and the little children; all those who know not the Lord Jesus, or who love him not, or who by sin have grieved his heart of love.

Lastly, let us remember before God all those who rejoice with us, but upon another shore, and in a greater light, that multitude which no man can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh, and with whom in the Lord Jesus we are for ever one.

These prayers and praises let us humbly offer up to the throne of heaven, in the words which Christ himself hath 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 trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever
Amen.

Please sit.

(Choir)

In the bleak mid-winter
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 mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, heav’n cannot hold him
Nor earth sustain;
Heav’n and earth shall flee away
When he comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty
Jesus Christ.

Enough for him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

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.

Words: C. G. Rossetti (1830-1894)
Music: H. E. Darke (1888-1976)

Lesson: Genesis 3.8-14

The Fall

Read by Heather Woodhead
Chorister at St Mary’s Church, Whitkirk

(Choir)

On Christmas night all Christians sing
To hear the news the angels bring,
News of great joy, news of great mirth,
News of our merciful King’s birth.

Then why should men on earth be so sad,
Since our Redeemer made us glad,
When from our sin he set us free,
All for to gain our liberty?

When sin departs before his grace,
Then life and health come in its place;
Angels and men with joy may sing,
All for to see the new-born King.

All out of darkness we have light,
Which made the angels sing this night;
‘Glory to God and peace to men,
Now and for evermore. Amen’.

Words & Music: English traditional carol
arranged by D. V. Willcocks (1919-2015)

Please stand.

(All)

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.

Yet with the 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!

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 the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.

Words: E. H. Sears (1810-1876)
Music: English traditional melody
adapted by A. S. Sullivan (1842-1900)

Please sit.

Lesson: Isaiah 9.2,6,7

The prophecy of the Messiah’s birth

Read by Victoria Peat
School Teacher, Alder Tree Primary School

(Choir)

Ring Christmas bells, merrily ring,
Tell all the world, Jesus is King.
Loudly proclaim with one accord
The happy tale, welcome the Lord.
Ring Christmas bells, sound far and near,
The birthday of Jesus is here.
Herald the news to old and young,
Tell it to all, in ev’ry tongue.

Ring Christmas bells, tell loud and long,
Your message sweet, peal and prolong.
Come all ye people, join in the singing,
Repeat the story told by the ringing.
Ring Christmas bells, throughout the earth,
The glad news of Jesus’ birth.
Loudly proclaim, with one accord,
The happy tale, welcome the Lord.

Ring Christmas bells, merrily ring,
Tell all the world, Jesus is King.
Loudly proclaim with one accord
The happy tale, welcome the Lord.
Ring Christmas bells, sound far and near,
The birthday of Jesus is here.
Herald the news to old and young,
Tell it to all, in ev’ry tongue.

Ring Christmas bells, tell loud and long,
Your message sweet, peal and prolong.
Come all ye people, join in the singing,
Repeat the story told by the ringing.
Ring Christmas bells, throughout the earth,
Tell the glad news of Jesus’ birth.
Loudly proclaim, with one accord,
The happy tale, welcome the Lord.
Ring Christmas bells, merrily ring.
Tell all the world: Jesus is King!

Words & Music: M. D. Leontovych (1877-1921)

Please stand.

(All)

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.

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: P. Brooks (1835-1893)
Music: English traditional melody
Verses 1 & 2 arranged by R. Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
Verse 3 arranged by T. Armstrong (1898-1994)

Please sit.

Lesson: Luke 1.26-38

The Annunciation to Mary

Read by Richard Burgon
Member of Parliament for Leeds East

(Choir)

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day:
I would my true love did so chance
see the legend of my play,
To call my true love to my dance:

Sing O my love, O my love, my love, my love;
This have I done for my true love.

Then was I born of a virgin pure,
Of her I took fleshly substance;
Thus was I knit to man’s nature,
To call my true love to my dance:

Sing O my love, O my love, my love, my love;
This have I done for my true love.

In a manger laid and wrapped I was,
So very poor this was my chance,
Betwixt an ox and a silly poor ass,
To call my true love to my dance:

Sing O my love, O my love, my love, my love;
This have I done for my true love.

Then afterwards baptised I was;
The Holy Ghost on me did glance,
My Father’s voice heard from above,
To call my true love to my dance:

Sing O my love, O my love, my love, my love;
This have I done for my true love.

Words: English traditional text
Music: J. L. Gardner (1917-2011)

Please stand.

(All)
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!

(All)
‘For known a blessèd Mother thou shalt be;
All generations laud and honour thee:
Thy son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold.
Most highly favoured lady.’ Gloria!

(Upper Voices)
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!

(All)
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!

Words: S. Baring-Gould (1834-1924)
Music: Basque traditional melody
arranged by E. Pettman (1866-1943)

Please sit.

Lesson: Luke 2.1-7

The birth of Jesus

Read by Andy Thomson
Chair of Whitkirk Arts Guild

(Choir)

In dulci jubilo, Let us our homage shew;
Our heart’s joy reclineth In praesepio,
And like a bright star shineth Matris in gremio.
Alpha es et O, Alpha es et O!

O Jesu parvule! My heart is sore for thee!
Hear me, I beseech thee, O Puer optime!
My prayer let it reach thee, O Princeps gloriae!
Trahe me post te, Trahe me post te!

O Patris caritas, O Nati lenitas!
Deeply were we stainèd Per nostra crimina;
But thou hast for us gainèd Coelorum gaudia,
O that we were there, O that we were there!

Ubi sunt gaudia, If that they be not there?
There are angels singing Nova cantica,
There the bells are ringing In Regis curia:
O that we were there, O that we were there!

Words: English text translated from German
by R. L. Pearsall (1795-1856)
Music: 14th century German carol
arranged by R. Chilcott (b. 1955)

Please stand.

(All)

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 first saw the sight:
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heav’nly hosts sing Alleluia:
Christ the Saviour is born,
Christ the Saviour is born!

Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love’s pure light;
Radiance beams from thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace.
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at the birth.

Words: J. Mohr (1792-1848)
translated by J. F. Young (1820-1885)
Music: F. Grüber (1787-1863)
arranged by R. Chilcott (b. 1955)

Please sit.

Lesson: Luke 2.8-16

The shepherds go to the manger

Read by Emma-Jayne Turnberry
Funeral Director, Co-operative Funeralcare, Whitkirk

(Choir)

‘When he is King we will give him the King’s gifts,
Myrrh for its sweetness, and gold for a crown,
Beautiful robes,’ said the young girl to Joseph,
Fair with her first-born on Bethlehem Down.

Bethlehem Down is full of the starlight —
Winds for the spices, and stars for the gold,
Mary for sleep, and for lullaby music
Songs of a shepherd by Bethlehem fold.

Here he has peace and a short while for dreaming,
Close-huddled oxen to keep him from cold,
Mary for love, and for lullaby music
Songs of a shepherd by Bethlehem fold.

Words: B. Blunt (1899-1957)
Music: P. Warlock (1894-1930)

Please stand.

(All)

God rest you merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
For Jesus Christ our Saviour  
Was born upon this day,
To save us all from Satan’s pow’r
When we were gone astray:
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.

From God our heav’nly Father
A blessèd angel came,
And unto certain shepherds
Brought tidings of the same,
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by name:
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.

Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace,
This holy tide of Christmas
All others doth deface:
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.

Words & Music: English traditional carol
arranged by D. V. Willcocks (1919-2015)

Please sit.

Lesson: Matthew 2.1-11

The magi are led by the star to Jesus

Read by Lynne Pickersgill
Duty of Candour Co-ordinator,
Serious Incident Team, Yorkshire Ambulance Service
and Licensed Lay Minister at St Mary’s Church, Whitkirk

(Choir)

Clear in the darkness a light shines in Bethlehem:
Angels are singing, their sound fills the air.
Wise men have journeyed to greet their Messiah;
But only a mother and baby lie there.
‘Ave Maria, ave Maria.’ Hear the soft lullaby the angel hosts sing.
‘Ave Maria, ave Maria. Maiden, and mother of Jesus our King’.

Where are his courtiers, and who are his people?
Why does he bear neither sceptre nor crown?
Shepherds his courtiers, the poor for his people,
With peace as his sceptre and love for his crown.
‘Ave Maria, ave Maria.’ Hear the soft lullaby the angel hosts sing.
‘Ave Maria, ave Maria. Maiden, and mother of Jesus our King’.

What though your treasures are not gold or incense?
Lay them before him with hearts full of love.
Praise to the Christ child, and praise to his mother
Who bore us a Saviour by grace from above.
‘Ave Maria, ave Maria.’ Hear the soft lullaby the angel hosts sing.
‘Ave Maria, ave Maria. Maiden, and mother of Jesus our King’.

Words & Music: J. M. Rutter (b. 1945)

Please stand.

(All)

As with gladness men of old
Did the guiding star behold,
As with joy they hailed its light,
Leading onward, beaming bright;
So, most gracious God, may we
Evermore be led to thee.

As with joyful steps they sped,
To that lowly manger bed,
There to bend the knee before
Him whom heav’n and earth adore,
So may we with willing feet
Ever seek thy mercy-seat.

As they offered gifts most rare
At that cradle rude and bare,
So may we with holy joy,
Pure, and free from sin’s alloy,
All our costliest treasures bring,
Christ, to thee our heav’nly King.

Words: W. Chatterton Dix (1837-1898)
Music: Abridged from a chorale,
‘Treuer Heiland’, by C. Kocher (1786-1872)
arranged by D. V. Willcocks (1919-2015)

Please remain standing.

Lesson: John 1.1-14

The Incarnation of the Word of God

Read by The Reverend Canon Matthew Peat
Vicar of St Mary’s Church, Whitkirk

Please sit.

(Choir)

Ding dong! merrily on high,
In heav’n the bells are ringing.
Ding dong! verily the sky
Is riv’n with angels singing
Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!
Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!

E’en so here below, below,
Let steeple bells be swungen,
And i-o, i-o, i-o,
By priest and people sungen.
Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!
Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!

Pray you, dutifully prime
Your matin chime, ye ringers;
May you beautifully rime
Your evetime song, ye singers.
Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!
Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!
Hosanna!
In excelsis!
Hosanna in excelsis!

Words: G. R. Woodward (1848-1934)
Music: 16th century French melody arranged by S. Nicholson (b. 1975)

Please stand.

(All)

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!

God of God,
Light of light,
Lo! he abhors not the Virgin’s womb;
Very God,
Begotten, not created:
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord!

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?
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,
Sing, all ye citizens of heav’n above;
Glory to God
In the highest:
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord!

Words: J. F. Wade (1711-1786)
translated by F. Oakley (1802-1880) and others
Music: J. F. Wade (1711-1786)
arranged by D. V. Willcocks (1919-2015)

Please remain standing.

The Collect for Christmas Eve

Almighty God, you make us glad
with the yearly remembrance
of the birth of your Son, Jesus Christ:
grant that, as we joyfully receive him as our redeemer,
so we may with sure confidence behold him
when he shall come to be our judge;
who is alive and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Amen.

The Blessing

May he who by his Incarnation
gathered into one things earthly and heavenly,
fill you with the sweetness
of inward peace and goodwill;
and the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be upon you and remain with you always.

Amen.

(All)

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 th’angelic host proclaim,
Christ is born in Bethlehem:
Hark! the herald-angels sing
Glory to the new-born King.

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 new-born King.

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Ris’n 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 new-born King.

Words: C. Wesley (1707-1788) and others
Music: F. Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Verse 3 arranged by D. V. Willcocks (1919-2015)


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Common Worship: Services & Prayers for the Church of England, material from which is included in this service
© The Archbishops’ Council

Once in royal David’s city
© Oxford University Press

In the bleak mid-winter
© Stainer & Bell. Ltd

Sussex carol
© Oxford University Press

It came upon the midnight clear
© Oxford University Press

O little town of Bethlehem
© Oxford University Press

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day
© Oxford University Press

The angel Gabriel from heaven came
© B. Feldman & Co. Ltd

In dulci jubilo
© Oxford University Press

Silent night
© Oxford University Press

Bethlehem Down
© Oxford University Press

God rest you merry, gentlemen
© Oxford University Press

Christmas Lullaby
© Oxford University Press

As with gladness men of old
© Oxford University Press

Ding dong! merrily on high
© Novello & Co. Ltd

O come, all ye faithful
© Oxford University Press

Hark! the herald-angels sing
© Oxford University Press

Organ voluntary
© Kevin Mayhew Ltd

CCL licence: 668063