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Joy to the world
the Lord has come:
let earth receive her king!
Let every heart prepare him room
and heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven, and heaven and nature sing.
Joy to the earth – the Saviour reigns!
Your sweetest songs employ,
while fields and streams
rocks, hills and plains
repeat the sounding joy, repeat the sounding joy,
repeat, repeat the sounding joy.
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
nor thorns infest the ground.
He comes to make his blessings flow
far as the curse is found, far as the curse is found,
far as, far as the curse is found.
He rules the world with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness,
the wonders of his love, the wonders of his love,
the wonders, wonders of his love.
BIBLE READING Micah 5:2-5a
A long time before Jesus was born, God promised a shepherd who would come from Bethlehem.
2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.
3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labour has given birth;
then the rest of his brothers shall return
to the people of Israel.
4 And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth.
5 And he shall be their peace.
O little town of Bethlehem how still we see you lie!
Above your deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by;
yet in your dark streets shining is everlasting light;
the hopes and fears of all the years are met in you 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.
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 Emmanuel!
BIBLE READING Matthew 1:18-25
God tells Joseph about the amazing thing that’s going to happen.
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Silent Night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
round the virgin and her child:
holy infant, so gentle and mild,
sleep in heavenly peace; sleep in heavenly peace.
Silent night! Holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight;
glory streams from heaven afar:
heavenly hosts sing ‘Alleluia,
Christ the Saviour is born, Christ the Saviour is born.’
Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, love’s pure light:
radiant beams your holy face
with the dawn of saving grace.
Jesus, Lord, at your birth, Jesus, Lord at your birth.
BIBLE READING Luke 2:1-7
The birth of Jesus
1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
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 for ever, and love me I pray.
Bless all the dear children in your tender care,
and fit us for heaven to live with you there.
BIBLE READING Matthew 2:1-6
The wise men ask where the baby will be born
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he enquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
As with gladness, men of old did the guiding star behold
As with joy they hailed its light leading onward, beaming bright
So, most glorious Lord, 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 Heaven and earth adore;
So may we with willing feet ever seek Thy mercy seat.
As they offered gifts most rare at that manger 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 heavenly King.
Holy Jesus, every day keep us in the narrow way;
And, when earthly things are past, bring our ransomed souls at last
Where they need no star to guide, where no clouds Thy glory hide.
In the heavenly country bright, need they no created light;
Thou its light, its joy, its crown, thou its sun which goes not down;
There forever may we sing alleluias to our King!
What nativity character would YOU like to play?
BIBLE TALK by Richard Hopkins
Hark! The herald angels sing ‘Glory to the new-born King,
peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.’
Joyful, all you 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 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.
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 man no more may die,
born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.
Some material in this service is © Used by permission CCL Licence # 1102690. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.