A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols 1997

Order of Service

Organ music before the service

Processional Hymn: Once in Royal David's City (desc. Cleobury)
Bidding: The Dean of King's College, the Rev Dr George Pattison
Up Good Christen Folk, and Listen (arr. G R Woodward)

Lesson 1: Genesis 3, vv 8-15, 17-19 (A chorister)
Adam Lay Ybounden (Boris Ord)
Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day (John Gardner)

Lesson 2: Genesis 22, vv 15-18 (A choral scholar)
Frohlocket, ihr Vökler auf Erden (Felix Mendelssohn)
In Dulci Jubilo (arr. R L de Pearsall)

Lesson 3: Isaiah 9, vv 2, 6, 7 (A member of staff)
Nowell Sing We Now All and Some (medieval)
Congregational hymn: Unto Us Is Born a Son (arr. Willcocks)

Lesson 4: Isaiah 11, vv 1-3a, 4a, 6-9 (A representative of the City of Cambridge)
There is no Rose (John Joubert)
In the Bleak Midwinter (Harold Darke)

Lesson 5: Luke 1, vv 26-35, 38 (The Director of Music)
A Hymn to the Mother of God (John Tavener)
Bogoroditse Dyevo (Arvo Pärt)

Lesson 6: Luke 2, vv 1, 3-7 (A representative of Cambridge Churches)
A Child is Born in Bethlehem (Samuel Scheidt)
I Saw Three Ships (arr. Simon Preston)

Lesson 7: Luke 2, vv 8-16 (A Fellow of King's College)
The Fayrfax Carol (Thomas Adès) – new commission
Congregational hymn: While Shepherds Watched (desc. Cleobury)

Lesson 8: Matthew 2, vv 1-12 (The Deputy Vice-Provost)
The Three Kings (Peter Cornelius)
Alleluia, a New Work is Come on Hand (Peter Wishart)

Lesson 9: John 1, vv 1-14 (The Vice-Provost)
Verbum Caro Factum Est (Hassler)
Congregational hymn: O Come All Ye Faithful (desc. Cleobury)

Collect for Christmas Eve and Blessing
Congregational hymn: Hark! the Herald Angels Sing (desc. Cleobury)

Organ voluntaries:
In Dulci Jubilo BWV 729 (J S Bach)
Toccata from Suite Op. 5 (Duruflé)

Director of Music: Stephen Cleobury
Organ Scholar: Robert Quinney

Full service booklet

Organ music before the service

Puer natus est nobis Olivier Messiaen
    ('Livre du Saint Sacrament')

Canonic Variations on 'Vom Himmel hoch, da komm' ich her', BWV 769 J.S. Bach

Les Anges Olivier Messiaen
    ('La Nativité du Seigneur')

Variations sur un vieux Nöel Op. 20 Marcel Dupre

Les Mages Olivier Messiaen
    ('La Nativité du Seigneur')

Vom Himmel hoch, da komm' ich her, BWV 606 J.S. Bach

Desseins eternels Olivier Messiaen
    ('La Nativité du Seigneur')

Processional Hymn

The congregation in the Choir stands at the same time as the congregation in the Ante-chapel, so that all may be silent when the hymn starts. All join in singing the last two verses of the hymn.

Solo 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.
Choir And through all his wondrous childhood
He would honour and obey,
Love, and watch the lowly maiden,
In whose gentle arms he lay;
Christian children all must be
Mild, obedient, good as he.
Choir For he is our childhood's pattern,
Day by day like us he grew,
He was little, weak, and helpless,
Tears and smiles like us he knew;
And he feeleth for our sadness,
And he shareth in our gladness.
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
Melody: H. J. Gauntlett
Harmonized: A. H. Mann
Descant: Stephen Cleobury
Encore Publications

Bidding Prayer

Then, all standing, this bidding prayer is said.

Belovèd 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 shepherds and the wise men adore the Child lying in his Mother's arms.

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; and in company with the whole Church let us make this chapel, dedicated to his pure and lowly Mother, glad with our carols of praise:

But first let us pray for the needs of his whole world; for peace and goodwill over all the earth; within the dominions of our sovereign lady Queen Elizabeth, within this University and City of Cambridge, and in the two royal and religious Foundations of King Henry VI here and at Eton:

And let us at this time remember in his name the poor and the helpless, the cold, the hungry and the oppressed; the sick in body and in mind and them that mourn; the lonely and the unloved; the aged and the little children; and all who know not the loving kindness of the Lord.

Let us also remember before God all those who rejoice with us, but upon another shore and in a greater light, that multitude which none can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh: and let us pray that we may be counted among that communion of saints, receiving grace to offer unto God reasonable service, living in unity and fellowship with all his people and giving reverence to all that he hath made.

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...

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name,
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil. Amen.

The Almighty God bless us with his grace: Christ give us the joys of everlasting life: and unto the fellowship of the citizens above may the King of Angels bring us all. Amen.

The congregation sits.


Ding-dong, ding:
Ding-dong, ding-dong:

Up! good Christen folk, and listen
How the merry church bells ring,
And from steeple
Bid good people
Come adore the new-born King:

Tell the story how from glory
God came down at Christmastide,
Bringing gladness,
Chasing sadness,
Show'ring blessings far and wide.

Born of mother, blest o'er other,
Ex Maria Virgine,
In a stable
('tis no fable),
Christus natus hodie.

Words: G. R. Woodward
Tune from Piae Cantiones
Harmonized: G. R. Woodward
Oxford University Press

First Lesson

Reader: A chorister

God tells sinful Adam that he has lost the life of Paradise and that his seed will bruise the serpent's head.

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORDGod amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Thanks be to God


Adam lay ybounden,
    Bounden in a bond;
Four thousand winter
    Thought he not too long.

And all was for an apple,
    An apple that he took,
As clerkès finden
    Written in their book.

Ne had the apple taken been,
    The apple taken been,
Ne had never our lady
    Abeen heavenè queen.

Blessèd be the time
    That apple taken was,
Therefore we moun singen,
    Deo gracias!

Words: XV Century
Music: Boris Ord
Oxford University Press


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

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:

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

Traditional English
Music: John Gardner
Oxford University Press

Second Lesson

Reader: A choral scholar

God promises to faithful Abraham that in his seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.

And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

Thanks be to God


Frohlocket, ihr Völker auf Erden,
und preiset Gott!
Der Heiland ist erschienen,
den der Herr verheißen.
Er hat seine Gerechtigkeit
der Welt offenbaret.
Halleluja! Halleluja!

    Rejoice, O ye peoples of the earth,
    and praise the Lord
    The Saviour has come,
    he whom the Lord hath promised.
    He hath made manifest
    his justice to the world.
    Halleluja! Halleluja!

Words and trans.: Anon.
Music: J.L.F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Church Music Society


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

O Jesu parvule,
I yearn for thee alway;
Listen to my ditty,
O Puer optime,
Have pity on me, pity,
O princeps gloriæ!
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!

Ubi sunt gaudia, where,
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!

XIV Century German
Arranged: R.L. de Pearsall
Ed.: Reginald Jacques
Oxford University Press

Third Lesson

Reader: A member of staff

The prophet foretells the coming of the Saviour.

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called wonderful Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Thanks be to God


    Nowell sing we now all and some,
    For Rex pacificus is come.

In Bethlem in that fair city,
A child was born of a maiden free,
That shall a lord and princë be,
A solis ortus cardine.

Children were slain full great plenty,
Jesu, for the love of thee;
Wherefore their soulës savëd be,
Hostis Herodis impie.

As sunnë shineth through the glass,
So Jesu in his mother was;
Thee to servë now grant us grace,
O lux beata Trinitas.

Now God is comën to worshipën us;
Now of Mary is born Jesus;
Make we merry amongës us;
Exultet celum laudibus.

Words and Music: Medieval
Ed.: John Stevens
Stainer & Bell


Sung by the choir and congregation, standing.

All Unto us is born a Son,
    King of quires supernal:
See on earth his life begun,
    Of lords the Lord eternal.
All Christ, from heaven descending low,
    Come on earth a stranger;
Ox and ass their owner know,
    Becradled in the manger.
All This did Herod sore affray,
    And grievously bewilder,
So he gave the word to slay,
    And slew the little childer.
Choir Of his love and mercy mild
    This the Christmas story;
And O that Mary's gentle child
    Might lead us up to glory.
All O and A, and A and O,
    Cum cantibus in choro,
Let our merry organ go,
    Benedicamus Domino.

Words: XV Century Latin
Translation: G.R. Woodward
Music: Piae Cantiones
Arr.: David Willcocks
Oxford University Press

The congregation sits.

Fourth Lesson

Reader: A representative of the city

The peace that Christ will bring is foreshown.


And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,and a branch shall grow out of his roots: and the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD. With righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

Thanks be to God


There is no rose of such virtue
As is the rose that bare Jesu:

For in this rose containèd was
Heav'n and earth in little space:
    Res miranda. 1

By that rose we may well see
There be one God in Persons Three:
    Pares forma. 2

Then leave we all this worldly mirth
And follow we this joyous birth:
    Transeamus. 3

Words: XV Century English
Music: John Joubert

1 A marvellous thing,
2 Equal in form
3 Let us cross


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, heaven cannot hold him,
    Nor earth sustain;
Heaven 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: Christina Rossetti
Music: Harold Darke
Stainer & Bell

Fifth Lesson

Reader: The director of music

The angel Gabriel salutes the Blessed Virgin Mary.


And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph,of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Thanks be to God


In you, O Woman full of Grace, the angelic choirs, and the human race, all creation rejoices.
O sanctified Temple, mystical Paradise, and glory of Virgins.
In You, O Woman full of Grace, all creation rejoices.
All praise be to You.

Words: Liturgy of St. Basil
Music: John Tavener
Chester Music


It did not prove possible to produce an HTML rendering of the non-Roman text, but a translation of it is:

Rejoice, O virgin Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Saviour of our souls.

Words: The Orthodox liturgy
Music: Arvo Pärt
This carol was commissioned by the College
for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in 1990

Sixth Lesson

Reader: A representative of Cambridge churches

St Luke tells of the birth of Jesus.


And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Thanks be to God


A child is born in Bethlehem,
    Alleluia, alleluia,
And joy is in Jerusalem,
    Alleluia, alleluia.

Rejoice, rejoice, sing high, sing low,
    Alleluia, alleluia,
Benedicamus Domino,
    Alleluia, alleluia.

To Thee, O Lord, be glory paid,
    Alleluia, alleluia,
Thou Son of Mary, mother-maid,
    Alleluia, alleluia.

To Holy Trinity give praise,
    Alleluia, alleluia,
With Deo gracias always,
    Alleluia, alleluia.

Words: XIV Century Benedictine Processional
Translation: G.R. Woodward and others
Music: Samuel Scheidt
Oxford University Press


I saw three ships come sailing in,
    On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day,
I saw three ships come sailing in,
    On Christmas Day in the morning.

And what was in those ships all three?

Our Saviour Christ and his lady,

Pray, whither sailed those ships all three?

O, they sailed into Bethlehem,

And all the bells on earth shall ring,

And all the angels in heav'n shall sing,

And all the souls on earth shall sing,

Then let us all rejoice amain!

Traditional English
Arr.: Simon Preston

Seventh Lesson

Reader: A Fellow

The shepherds go to the manger.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, 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, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

Thanks be to God


'A, my dere, a, my dere Son,'
    Seyd Mary, 'A, my dere;
    A, my dere, a, my dere Son,'
    Seyd Mary, 'A, my dere;
Kys thy moder, Jhesu,
Kys thi moder, Jhesu,
    With a lawghyng chere.'

This endurs nyght
I sawe a syght
    All in my slepe:
Mary, that may 1,
She sang lullay
    And sore did wepe.
To kepe she sought
Full fast 2aboute
    Her Son from colde;
Joseph seyd, 'Wiff,
My joy, my lyff,
    Say what ye wolde.'
'Nothyng, my spowse,
Is in this howse
    Vnto my pay 3;
My Son, a Kyng
That made all thyng,
    Lyth in hay.'
    'My moder dere,
Amend your chere4,
    And now be still;
Thus for to lye5,
It is sothely
    My Fadirs will.
Gret passion
    Infynytly, infynytely,
As it is fownd,
Many a wownd
    Suffyr shall I.
On Caluery,
That is so hye,
    Ther shall I be,
Man to restore,
Naylid full sore
    Vppon a tre.'

The Fayrfax Carol
Words: Early Tudor, Anon.
Music: Thomas Adès
Faber Music
This carol has been commissioned by the College for today's service through the generosity of Mr Vincent Waterhouse.

1 that maid
2 firmly
3 [nothing is] to my liking
4 cheer up
5 i.e. in my cradle


Sung by all, standing.

While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
    All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
    And glory shone around.

'Fear not,' said he (for mighty dread
    Had seized their troubled mind);
'Glad tidings of great joy I bring
    To you and all mankind.'

'To you in David's town this day
    Is born of David's line
A Saviour, who is Christ the Lord,
    And this shall be the sign:'

'The heavenly Babe you there shall find
    To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
    And in a manger laid.'

Thus spake the Seraph; and forthwith
    Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God, who thus
    Addressed their joyful song:

'All glory be to God on high,
    And to the earth be peace;
Goodwill henceforth from heaven to men
    Begin and never cease.'

Words: Nahum Tate
Music: Este's Psalter, 1592
Descant: Stephen Cleobury

The congregation sits.

Eighth Lesson

Reader: The Deputy Vice-Provost

The wise men are led by the star to Jesus.

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judæa in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judæa: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts, gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

Thanks be to God



Three kings from Persian lands afar
To Jordan follow the pointing star:
And this the quest of the travellers three,
Where the new-born King of the Jews may be.
Full royal gifts they bear for the King;
Gold, incense, myrrh are their offering.

The star shines out with a steadfast ray;
The kings to Bethlehem make their way,
And there in worship they bend the knee,
As Mary's child in her lap they see;
Their royal gifts they show to the King;
Gold, incense, myrrh are their offering.

Thou child of man, lo, to Bethlehem
The kings are travelling, travel with them!
The star of mercy, the star of grace,
Shall lead thy heart to its resting-place.
Gold, incense, myrrh thou canst not bring;
Offer thy heart to the infant King.

Chorale (sung at the same time as the above) How brightly shines the morning star!
With grace and truth from heaven afar
Our Jesse tree now bloweth.
Of Jacob's stem and David's line,
For thee, my Bridegroom, King divine,
My soul with love o'erfloweth.
    Thy word, Jesu,
    Inly feeds us,
    Rightly leads us,
    Life bestowing.
Praise, O praise, such love o'erflowing.

Words: P. Cornelius and P. Nicolai
Translation: H.N. Bate
Music: P. Cornelius
Arr.: Ivor Atkins
Oxford University Press


Alleluia! A new work is come on hand
Through might and grace of Goddes son
To save the lost of every land.
For now is free that erst was bound
We may well sing

Now is fulfilled the prophecy
Of David and of Jeremy
And also of Isaiah.
Sing we therefore both loud and high

Alleluia, this sweet song
Out of a green branch it sprung;
God send us the life that lasteth long.
Now joy and bliss be him among
That thus can sing

Words: XV Century
Music, Peter Wishart
Oxford University Press

Ninth Lesson

Reader: The Vice-Provost

St John unfolds the mystery of the Incarnation.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that light, but was sent to bear witness of that light. That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Thanks be to God


Verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis, et vidimus gloriam ejus, gloriam quasi unigeniti a Patre, plenum gratiae et veritatis.

The word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Words: St. John 1:14
Music, Leo Hassler


Sung by all, standing. In verses 1 and 2 the first two lines of the refrain should be sung by upper voices only.

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.

Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above;
'Glory to God
In the highest'.

Yea, Lord, we greet thee,
Born this happy morning,
Jesu, to thee be glory given;
Word of the Father,
Now in flesh appearing:

Adeste Fideles
Translation: F. Oakeley
Melody: J. F. Wade
Descant: Stephen Cleobury
Encore Publications

Prayer & Blessing

All remain standing.

Minister: The Lord be with you
People: And with thy spirit.
Minister: Let us pray.
O God, who makest us glad with the yearly remembrance of the birth of thy only son, Jesus Christ: Grant that as we joyfully receive him for our redeemer, so we may with sure confidence behold him, when he shall come to be our judge; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.
All: Amen
Minister: May he who by his Incarnation gathered into one things earthly and heavenly, grant you the fullness of inward peace and goodwill; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be amongst you and remain with you always.
All: Amen


Sung by 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 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.
    Hark! the herald angels sing:
    'Glory to the new-born King!'

Words: C. Wesley and G. Whitefield
Music: J.L.F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Descant: Stephen Cleobury
Encore Publications

All remain standing during the first organ voluntary which is being broadcast. After this the choir and clergy are followed out in order by the stewards, the Vice-Provost, the Deputy Vice-Provost and Fellows of the College with their guests.

Members of the congregation who wish to leave during the second organ voluntary should do so silently. Those remaining are invited to be seated.

A retiring collection is taken for the Save the Children Fund. Those who wish to contribute by cheque are asked to make it payable to 'Save the Children' and send it to Mary Datchelor House, 17 Grove Lane, Camberwell, London SE5 8RD.

Organ music after the service:

In dulci jubilo BWV 729 J.S. Bach

Toccata (from 'Suite' Op. 5) Maurice Duruflé

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