A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols 1999

Order of Service

Organ music before the service

Processional Hymn: Once in Royal David's City (desc. Cleobury)
Bidding: Dean of King's College, the Rev Dr George Pattison
O little town of Bethlehem (Walford Davies)

Lesson 1: Genesis 3, vv 8-15, 17-19 (A Chorister)
Jesus Christ the apple-tree (Elizabeth Poston)
Adam lay ybounden (Philip Ledger)

Lesson 2: Genesis 22, vv 15-18 (A Choral Scholar)
In dulci jubilo (arr. Pearsall)
Ding dong! merrily on high (arr. David Willcocks)

Lesson 3: Isaiah 9, vv 2, 6, 7 (A member of staff)
Virga Jesse (Anton Bruckner)
Congregational hymn: Unto us is born a son (arr. David Willcocks)

Lesson 4: Isaiah 11, vv 1-3a, 4a, 6-9 (A representative of Cambridge)
There is no rose of such virtue (John Joubert)
The holly and the ivy (arr. Walford Davies)

Lesson 5: Luke 1, vv 26-35, 38 (The Director of Music)
Alma redemptoris mater (Medieval)
Resonet in laudibus (Jacob Handl)

Lesson 6: Luke 2, vv 1, 3-7 (A representative of Cambridge Churches)
Myn lyking (Richard Terry)
Dormi Jesu (John Rutter)

Lesson 7: Luke 2, vv 8-16 (A Fellow of King's College)
On Christmas Day to My Heart (Richard Rodney Bennett)
The First Nowell (arr. David Willcocks)

Lesson 8: Matthew 2, vv 1-12 (The Vice-Provost)
Bethlehem Down (Peter Warlock)
A babe is born (William Mathias)

Lesson 9: John 1, vv 1-14 (The Provost)
Congregational hymn: O Come All Ye Faithful (desc. Willcocks)

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)
Fête (Jean Langlais)

Director of Music: Stephen Cleobury
Organ Scholar: Benjamin Bayl

Full service booklet

Organ music before the service

Two Meditations from        Olivier Messiaen
    'La Natitite de Seigneur'

La vierge et l'enfant
Les anges

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

In Dulci Jubilo BWV 751        J.S. Bach

Two 'Nöels'         Louis-Claude Daquin
No. 10
No. 12 'Nöel Suisse'

Variations sur un vieux Nöel Op. 20         Marcel Dupre
Adeste fideles        Jeanne Demessieux

Processional Hymn

The congregation stands as the choir and clergy proceed from the vestry to the West Door, so that all may be silent when the hymn starts. All join in singing the last four 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.
All 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.
  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.
  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.
  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: H.J. Gauntlett and 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.


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 to-night.

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 to-day.
We hear the Christmas Angels
    The great glad tidings tell:
O come to us, abide with us,
    Our Lord Emmanuel!

Words: Luke 2. 11, 12 and Phillips Brooks
Music: H. Walford Davies

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 LORD God 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


The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit and always green:
The tree of Nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ, the apple tree.

His beauty doth all things excel:
By faith I know, but ne'er can tell
The glory which I now can see
In Jesus Christ, the apple tree.

For happiness I long have sought,
And pleasure dearly I have bought
I missed of all, but now I see,
'Tis found in Christ, the apple tree.

I'm weary with my former toil,
Here I will sit and rest awhile:
Under the shadow I will be
Of Jesus Christ, the apple tree.

This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,
It keeps my dying faith alive;
Which makes my soul in haste to be
With Jesus Christ, the apple tree.

Jesus Christ, the Apple Tree
Words: Anon., Collection of Joshua Smith, New Hampshire, 1784
Music: Elizabeth Poston
Cambridge University Press


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: Philip Ledger
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


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!

Words: XVI Century German Traditional
Arranged: R.L. de Pearsall
Ed.: Reginald Jacques
Oxford University Press


Ding dong! merrily on high
    In heaven the bells are ringing;
Ding dong! verily the sky
    Is riven with angel singing:
        Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis

E'en so here below, below,
    Let steeple bells be swungen,
And iö, iö, iö,
    By priest and people sungen:

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

Words: G.R. Woodward
Music: XVI Century French Melody
Arr. David Willcocks
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


Virga Jesse floruit: Virgo Deum et hominem genuit: pacem Deus reddidit, in se reconcilians ima summis. Alleluia.

The rod of Jesse has blossomed: The Virgin has given birth to God and Man: God has restored peace, reconciling within himself the lowest and the highest. Alleluia.

Words: Based on Numbers 17. 8
Music: Anton Bruckner
Peters Edition


Sung by all, standing.

Unto us is born a Son,
    King of quires supernal:
See on earth his life begun,
    Of lords the Lord eternal.

Christ, from heaven descending low,
    Come on earth a stranger;
Ox and ass their owner know,
    Becradled in the manger.

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.


O and A, and A and O,
    Cum cantibus in choro,
Let our merry organ go,
    Benedicamus Domino.

The congregation sits.

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

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.

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

Words: XV Century German
Music: John Joubert


The holly and the ivy,
when they are both full grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown:

    O the rising of the sun
    And the running of the deer,
    The playing of the merry organ,
    Sweet singing in the choir.

The holly bears a blossom,
As white as any flower,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To be our sweet Saviour:

The holly bears a berry,
As red as any blood,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good:

The holly bears a prickle,
As sharp as any thorn,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
On Christmas Day in the morn:

The holly bears a bark,
As bitter as any gall,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
For to redeem us all:

    O the rising of the sun
    And the running of the deer,
    The playing of the merry organ,
    Sweet singing in the choir.

Traditional English
Arr. Walford Davies

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


Alma redemtoris mater.

As I lay upon a night,
My thought was on a burd1 so bright
That men clepen2 Mary, full of might,
    Redemptoris mater.*

To her came Gabriel with light
And said: Hail be thou, blissful wight3!
To ben clepëd4 now art thou dight5
    Redemptoris mater.

At that word that lady bright
Anon6 conceivëd God full of might;
Then men wist7 well that she hight8
    Redemptoris mater.

When Jesu on the rood9 was pight10,
Mary was doleful of that sight
Till she see him rise upright,
    Redemptoris mater.

Jesu, that sittest in heaven light,
Grant us to comën beforn11 thy sight
With that burdë that is so bright,
    Redemptoris mater.

1. lady, maiden
2. call
3. person, human being
4. to have been called
5. appointed
6. straightway, forthwith
7. know
8. is named
9. cross
10. literally 'pitched'
11. to come before

* Mother of the Redeemer

Words and music: Anon
Arr. Stephen Cleobury


Resonet in laudibus,
Cum jucundis plausibus,
Sion cum fidelibus,
Apparuit quem genuit Maria.
Sunt impleta, que praedixit Gabriel;
Eia, eia, eia, eia,
Virgo Deum genuit,
Quod divina voluit clementia.
Hodie apparuit, apparuit in Israel,
Ex Maria virgine est natus Rex.

Let Syon resound with praises, with happy rejoicing among the faithful. He who was born of Mary has appeared. All that Gabriel predicted has been fulfilled. Eya! A virgin has given birth to God as divine mercy willed. Today there appeared in Israel a king, born of the virgin Mary.

Words: XIV Century German
Trans: John Rutter
Music: Jacob Handl
Oxford University Press

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


I saw a fair mayden sytten and sing.
She lulled a lyttel childe, a sweete Lording.

    Lullay myn lyking, my dere sonne, my sweeting.
    Lullay my dere herte, myn own dere derling.

That same Lord is he that made alle thing;
Of alle lordis he is Lord, of alle kynges Kyng.

There was mickle melody at that chylde's birth.
All that were in heav'nly bliss, they made mickle mirth.

Angels bright sang their song to that chyld;
Blyssid be thou, and so be she, so meek and so mild.

Words: XV Century
Music: R.R. Terry
Oxford University Press


Dormi, Jesu! Mater ridet
Quae tam dulcem somnum videt,
Dormi, Jesu! blandule!
Si non dormis, Mater plorat,
Inter fila cantans orat,
Blande, veni, somnule!

Sleep, sweet babe! my cares beguiling:
Mother sits beside thee smiling;
Sleep, my darling, tenderly!
If thou sleep not, mother mourneth,
Singing as her wheel she turneth:
Come, soft slumber, balmily!

The Virgin's Cradle-Hymn
Words, from a print of the Virgin, Germany
Trans: S.T. Coleridge
Music: John Rutter
Oxford University Press

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


    Hark! Heaven sings;
    Stretch, tune, my heart!
    (For hearts have strings
    May bear their part)
And though thy lute were bruised i' the fall,
Bruised hearts may reach an humble pastoral.

    Shepherds rejoice,
    And angels do
    No more: thy voice
    Can reach that too:
Bring them at least thy pipe along,
And mingle consort with the angels' song.

    A shed that's thatched
    (Yet straws can sing)
    Holds God; God matched
    With beasts; beasts bring
Their song their way: for shame then raise
Thy notes! lambs bleat, and oxen bellow praise.

    God honoured man
    Not angels: yet
    They sing; and can
    Raised man forget?
Praise is our debt to-day, now shall
Angels (man's not so poor) discharge it all?

    Then, screw1 thee high,
    My heart, up to
    The angels' cry;
    Sing 'glory', do:
What if thy strings all crack and fly?
On such a ground, music 'twill be to die.

On Christmas Day to My Heart
Words: Clement Paman
Music: Richard Rodney Bennett

1 To stretch tight by turning a screw; esp. to increase the tension or pitch of a musical instrument by winding up the screws or keys.


Sung by the choir and congregation, standing

The first 'Nowell!' the angel did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay;
In fields where they lay, keeping their sheep,
On a cold winter's night that was so deep.

    Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!!
    Born is the King of Israel!

They lookèd up and saw a star
Shining in the east, beyond them far;
And to the earth it gave great light,
And so it continued both day and night.

And by the light of that same star
Three wise men came from country far;
To seek for a king was their intent,
And to follow the star wherever it went.

This star drew nigh to the north-west:
O'er Bethlehem it took its rest;
And there it did both stop and stay
Right over the place where Jesus Lay.

Then enter'd in those wise men three,
Full rev'rently upon their knee,
And offer'd there in his presence
Their gold and myrrh and frankincense.

Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heav'nly Lord,
That hath made heav'n and earth of naught,
And with his blood mankind hath bought.

English traditional
Music: arr. David Willcocks
Oxford University Press

The congregation sits

Eighth Lesson

Reader: The 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


When He is King we will give him the Kings' 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.

When He is King they will clothe Him in grave-sheets,
Myrrh for embalming, and wood for a crown,
He that lies now in the white arms of Mary,
Sleeping so lightly on Bethlehem Down.

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.

Bethlehem Down
Words: Bruce Blunt
Music: Peter Warlock
Boosey and Hawkes


A babe is born all of a may,
To bring salvation unto us.
To him we sing both night and day.
Veni Creator Spiritus

At Bethlehem, that blessed place,
The child of bliss now born he was;
And him to serve God give us grace,
O lux beata Trinitas.

There came three kings out of the East,
To worship the King that is so free,
With gold and myrrh and frankincense,
A solis ortus cardine.

The angels came down with one cry,
A fair song that night sung they
In worship of that child:
Gloria tibi Domine

A babe is born all of a may,
To bring salvation unto us.
To him we sing both night and day.
Veni Creator Spiritus. Noel!

Words: XV Century
Music: William Mathias
Oxford University Press

Ninth Lesson

Reader: The 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


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
Arr: David Willcocks
Oxford University Press

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

Organ music after the service:

In dulci jubilo BWV 729 J.S. Bach

Fête Jean Langlais

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