A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols 2003

Introduction

Our Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols was first held on Christmas Eve 1918. Today marks the 75th anniversary of its first broadcast in 1928. It was planned by Eric Milner-White, who, at the age of thirty-four, had just been appointed Dean of King's after experience as an army chaplain which had convinced him that the Church of England needed more imaginative worship. (He devised our Advent Carol Service in 1934, and was a liturgical pioneer and authority during his twenty two years as Dean of York.) The music was then directed by Arthur Henry Mann, Organist 1876–1929. The choir included sixteen trebles as laid down in King Henry VI's statutes, but until 1927 the men's voices were provided partly by Choral Scholars and partly by older Lay Clerks, and not, as now, by fourteen undergraduates.

A revision of the Order of Service was made in 1919, involving rearrangement of the lessons, and from that date the service has always begun with the hymn 'Once in royal David's city'. In almost every year some carols have been changed and some new ones introduced by successive Organists: Arthur Henry Mann; Boris Ord, 1929-57; Harold Darke (his substitute during the war), 1940-45; Sir David Willcocks, 1957-73; Sir Philip Ledger, 1974-82 and, from 1982, Stephen Cleobury. The backbone of the service, the lessons and the prayers, has remained virtually unchanged. The original service was, in fact, adapted from an Order drawn up by E.W. Benson, later Archbishop of Canterbury, for use in the wooden shed, which then served as his cathedral in Truro, at 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve 1880. A.C. Benson recalled: 'My father arranged from ancient sources a little service for Christmas Eve – nine carols and nine tiny lessons, which were read by various officers of the Church, beginning with a chorister, and ending, through the different grades, with the Bishop.' The suggestion had come from G.H.S. Walpole, later Bishop of Edinburgh. Almost immediately other churches adapted the service for their own use.

A wider frame began to grow when the service was first broadcast in 1928 and, with the exception of 1930, it has been broadcast annually, even during the Second World War, when the ancient glass (and also all heat) had been removed from the Chapel and the name of King's could not be broadcast for security reasons. Sometime in the early 1930s the BBC began broadcasting the service on overseas programmes. It is estimated that there are millions of listeners worldwide, including those to Radio Four in the United Kingdom. In recent years it has become the practice to broadcast a digital recording on Christmas Day on Radio Three, and since 1963 a shorter service has been filmed periodically for television. Recordings of carols by Decca and EMI have also served to spread its fame.

In these and other ways the service has become public property. From time to time the College receives copies of services held, for example, in the West Indies or the Far East and these show how widely the tradition has spread. The broadcasts, too, have become part of Christmas for many far from Cambridge. One correspondent writes that he heard the service in a tent on the foothills of Everest; another, in the desert. Many listen at home, busy about their own preparations for Christmas. Visitors from all over the world are heard to identify the Chapel as 'the place where the Carols are sung'.

Wherever the service is heard and however it is adapted, whether the music is provided by choir or congregation, the pattern and strength of the service, as Dean Milner-White pointed out, derive from the lessons and not the music. 'The main theme is the development of the loving purposes of God ...' seen 'through the windows and words of the Bible'. Local interests appear, as they do here, in the bidding prayer; and personal circumstances give point to different parts of the service. Many of those who took part in the first service must have recalled those killed in the Great War when it came to the famous passage 'all those who rejoice with us, but on another shore and in a greater light'. The centre of the service is still found by those who 'go in heart and mind' and who consent to follow where the story leads.

    I heard the bells on Christmas day
    Their old familiar carols play...

Christmas Bells
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Lion Publishing

Text not given in full in this website version of the booklet due to copyright reasons.



Organ music before the service:

Toccata in F     BWV 540     J. S. Bach

'Dialogue' from Gloria (Messe des Paroisses)     Francois Couperin

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr     BWV 664     J. S. Bach

La Nativité     Jean Langlais

Weihnachten     Op. 145 No. 3     Max Reger

Incarnation with shepherds dancing     Judith Bingham

Variations sur un vieux Nöel     Op. 20     Marcel Dupre

From 'La Nativité du Seigneur'     Olivier Messiaen
        La Vierge et l'enfant
        Les enfants de Dieu

In dulci jubilo     BUXWV 197     Diderik Buxtehude

From 'La Nativité du Seigneur'     Olivier Messiaen
        Desseins éternels

ORDER OF SERVICE

PROCESSIONAL 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
Harmonised, H. J. Gauntlett and A. H. Mann
Descant, Stephen Cleobury
Encore Publications

BIDDING PRAYER

The Dean:     Beloved 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 Magi 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 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; for unity and brotherhood within the Church he came to build, 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 God.
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 we for evermore are 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...

All:     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 Dean:     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.

All:     Amen.

CAROL

Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign to you; Ye shall find the Babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.

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
Novello

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.     Genesis 3

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

CAROL

This is the truth sent from above,
The truth of God, the God of love;
Therefore don't turn me from your door,
But hearken all both rich and poor.

The first thing which I do relate
Is that God did man create;
The next thing which to you I'll tell:
Woman was made with man to dwell.

Then after this 'twas God's own choice
To place them both in Paradise,
There to remain from evil free,
Except they ate of such a tree.

And they did eat, which was a sin,
And thus their ruin did begin;
Ruined themselves, both you and me,
And all of their posterity.

Thus we were heirs to endless woes,
Till God the Lord did interpose,
And so a promise soon did run
That he would redeem us by his Son.

Herefordshire Carol
Arranged, R. Vaughan Williams
Stainer & Bell

CAROL

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, 15th century
Music, Boris Ord
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.     Genesis 22

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

CAROL

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!

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

14th century German
Arranged, R. L. de Pearsall
Edited, Reginald Jacques
Oxford University Press

CAROL

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:
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.

 

Words, G. R. Woodward
Music, 16th century French melody
Harmonised, Charles Wood
Oxford University Press

THIRD LESSON

Reader: A Member of Staff

The prophet foretells the coming of the Saviour.     Isaiah 9

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


CAROL

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

In Bethlehem 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 in full great plenty,
Jesu, for the love of thee;
Wherefore their soulës savëd be,
Hostis Herodis impie.

As the 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 coelum laudibus.

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

Words, 15th century
Music, Elizabeth Maconchy
Cambridge University Press

HYMN

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, good-will to men,
From heaven's all gracious King!'
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled;
And still their heavenly music floats
O'er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing;
And ever o'er its Babel sounds
The blessèd 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. Sears
English traditional melody
Arranged, Arthur Sullivan
Oxford University Press
Descant, Stephen Cleobury

FOURTH LESSON

Reader: A Representative of the City of Cambridge

The peace that Christ will bring is foreshown.     Isaiah 11

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

CAROL

There is no rose of such virtue
As is the rose that bare Jesu;
    Alleluia.

For in this rose contained was
Heaven and earth in little space;
    Res miranda.

By that rose we may well see
That he is God in persons three,
    Pari forma.

The angels sungen the shepherds to:
Gloria in excelsis Deo:
    Gaudeamus.

Leave we all this worldly mirth,
And follow we this joyful birth;
    Transeamus.

Anon., c. 1420
Transcribed and edited, John Stevens
Stainer & Bell

CAROL

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed,
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
    Little Lamb, who made thee?
    Dost thou know who made thee?

    Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
    Little Lamb, I'll tell thee:
He is callèd by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and he is mild,
He became a little child;
I, a child, and thou a lamb,
We are callèd by his name.
    Little Lamb, God bless thee!
    Little Lamb, God bless thee!

Words, William Blake
Music, John Tavener
Chester Music

FIFTH LESSON

Reader: The Director of Music

The angel Gabriel salutes the Blessed Virgin Mary.     St Luke 1

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

CAROL

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!

'For known a blessèd Mother thou shalt be,
All generations laud and honour thee,
Thy Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold.'

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.'

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
Music, Old Basque
Arranged, Edgar Pettman
University Carol Book: Freeman

CAROL

The first good joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of one;
To see the blessèd Jesus Christ
When he was first her son:
When he was first her son, good man;
And blessèd may he be,
Both Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
To all eternity.

The next good joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of two;
To see her own son, Jesus Christ,
To make the lame to go:
To make the lame to go, good man:

The next good joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of three;
To see her own son, Jesus Christ,
To make the blind to see:
To make the blind to see, good man:

The next good joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of four;
To see her own son, Jesus Christ,
To read the Bible o'er:
To read the Bible o'er, good man:

The next good joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of five;
To see her own son, Jesus Christ,
To bring the dead alive:
To bring the dead alive, good man:

The next good joy that Mary had
It was the joy of six;
To see her own son, Jesus Christ,
Upon the crucifix:
Upon the crucifix, good man:

The next good joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of seven;
To see her own son, Jesus Christ,
To wear the crown of heaven:
To wear the crown of heaven, good man:

Joys Seven
Traditional
Arranged, Stephen Cleobury
Oxford University Press

SIXTH LESSON

Reader: A Representative of Cambridge Churches

St Luke tells of the birth of Jesus.     St Luke 2

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

CAROL

Not yet shepherds,
the gilded kings,
no angel strikes
upon the strings.

lalula lalula
lalulaluel

Wintering beasts,
mother and child,
stilled at the breast,
cries reconciled.

manula lalula
lalulaluel

Soft Mary lalls
forgotten song,
puzzles the name
that could belong.

emmalalula
lalulaluel

Six-pointed star
pierces roofbeam,
into her eye
enters the gleam.

halula lalula
ha'almah harah...

Hers is the child
prophets foretell,
God is with us,
noel, noel.

...veyoledet ben vekarat
shemo Immanu El

The Gleam
Words, Stephen Plaice
Music, Harrison Birtwistle
Boosey & Hawkes

This carol has been commissioned by the College, with support from Sir Patrick and Lady Elias, for today's service.

CAROL

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:

Words, English Traditional
Arranged, David Willcocks
Oxford University Press

SEVENTH LESSON

Reader: A Fellow

The shepherds go to the manger.     St Luke 2

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

CAROL

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

HYMN

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 power
When we were gone astray:
O tidings of comfort and joy.

Choir:
From God our heavenly Father
A blessèd angel came,
And unto certain shepherds
Brought tidings of the same,
How that inBethlehem was born:
The Son of God by name:
All:   O tidings of comfort and joy.

All:   The shepherds at those tidings
Rejoicèd much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding
In tempest, storm, and wind,
And went to Bethlehem straightway
This blessèd Babe to find:
O tidings of comfort and joy.

Choir:   But when to Bethlehem they came,
Whereat this infant lay,
They found him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
His mother Mary kneeling
Unto the Lord did pray:
All:   O tidings of comfort and joy.

All:     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.

Words, English Traditional
Arranged, David Willcocks
Oxford University Press

EIGHTH LESSON

Reader: The Vice-Provost

The wise men are led by the star to Jesus.     St Matthew 2

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

CAROL

Look up sweet Babe, look up and see
For love of thee, tho' far from home,
The East is come to seek herself in thy sweet eyes.

To thee thou day of night, thou East of West
Lo we at last have found the way
To thee, the world's great universal East,
The general and indiff'rent day.

The first verse is repeated.

Words, Richard Crashaw
Music, Lennox Berkeley
Chester Music

CAROL

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!

Words, English Traditional
Arranged, Philip Ledger
Oxford University Press

NINTH LESSON

Reader: the Provost

St John unfolds the great mystery of the Incarnation.     St John 1

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

HYMN

In verses 1 and 2 the first two lines of the refrain are 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
Words translated, F. Oakeley
Melody, J F. Wade
Arranged, Stephen Cleobury
Encore Publications

COLLECT & BLESSING

The Dean:     The Lord be with you.

All:     And with thy spirit.

The Dean:     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.

The Dean:     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 upon you and remain with you always.

All:     Amen.

HYMN

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.

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

Carillon de Westminster Op. 54 No. 6     Louis Vierne

After the service a retiring collection is taken for King's College Chapel Foundation.

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