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"Christmas Eve Service" - UUSE Virtual Worship, December 24, 2023


Gathering Music


Welcome and Introduction


Centering

 

Chalice Lighting

 

Opening Song

#248 "O We Believe in Christmas"

Words: Percival Chubb, 1860 -1960, © 1955 American Ethical Union

Music: American folk hymn melody in The Revivalist , 1868


O we believe in Christmas, and we keep Christmas day;

and we will honor Christmas the ancient worldwide way:

the Christmas of all peoples, the sun’s returning cheer

rung out from towers and steeples at midnight of the year.


And we will join at Christmas the song of hope and joy

that finds its theme at Christmas in every girl and boy.

The flame of life will dwindle as fades the sunset sky

until a child shall kindle new light and raise that high.


Then sing we all at Christmas the song of that new birth

which holds the hope of Christmas and brings its joy to earth;

which knits the generations, each daughter and each son,

beyond all tribes and nations, and makes the many one.


Shine out ye lights of Christmas from hearth and tree and star!

And let the warmth of Christmas shed kindness near and far!

And clang, ye bells of Christmas, upon the frosty air!

And may the joy of Christmas spread gladness everywhere!


Reading: Luke 2: 1-14


Silence


Hymn

#1061 For So the Children Come

 Words: Sophia Lyon Fahs, 1876 - 1978

Music: Jason Shelton, 1972 - , © 1998 Jason Shelton


Chorus:

Each night a child is born is a holy night:

A time for singing,

A time for wondering,

A time for worshipping,

Each night a child is born is a holy night.

 

Story: "The Birds of Bethlehem" by Tomie de Paola


Carol

#246 "O Little Town of Bethlehem"

Words: Phillips Brooks.

Music: Lewis H. Redner


O little town of Bethlehem, How still we see thee lie!

Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, The silent stars go by;

Yet in thy dark streets shineth The everlasting Light;

The hopes and fears of all the years Are met in thee tonight.


For Christ is born of Mary, And gathered all above,

While mortals sleep, the angels keep Their watch of wondrous love.

O morning stars, together Proclaim the holy birth,  

And praises sing to God the King, And peace to men on earth!


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.

 

Winter Solstice and Christmas Eve Prayer by Rev. Josh Pawelek


Silence


Carol

#231 "Angels We Have Heard on High"

Words: Earl Marlatt; Music, French carol


Angels we have heard on high sweetly singing o’er the plains

and the mountains in reply echoing their joyous strains.


(Chorus)

Gloria, in excelsis Deo. Gloria, in excelsis Deo.


Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why these songs of happy cheer?

What great brightness did you see? What glad tidings did you hear?


(Chorus)


See him in a manger laid whom the angels praise above;

Mary, Joseph, lend your aid, while we raise our hearts in love.


(Chorus)

 

Poem 

“A Blessing for Traveling in the Dark”

by Jan Richardson


Offering for the Minister’s Discretionary Fund


Offering Music

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” 

by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin


Story: “The Holly King and the Oak King” by J. C. Artemesia


Carols

#241 In the Bleak Midwinter

Words ad. By John Andrew Storey from Georgina Rossetti;

Music by Gustav Theodore Holst


In the bleak midwinter 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 midwinter long ago.


Christ a homeless stranger, so the gospels say,

cradled in a manger and a bed of hay;

in the bleak midwinter, stable-place sufficed

Mary and her baby, Jesus Christ.


Once more child and mother weave their magic spell,

touching hearts with wonder words can never tell;

in the bleak midwinter, in this world of pain,

where our hearts are open love is born again.

 

#244 "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear"

Words by Edmund Hamilton Sears;

Music by Richard Storrs Willis


It came upon the midnight clear,

That glorious song of old,

From angels bending near the earth

To touch their hearts 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 blessed angels sing.

 

Yet with the woes of sin and strife

The world hath 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,

Shall come the Age of Gold;

When peace shall over all the earth

Its ancient splendor fling,

And all the world give back the song

Which now the angels sing.

 

“245 Joy to the World

Music by George Frederic Handel

Text by Isaac Watts


Joy to the world! The Lord is come:

Let earth receive her King!

Let every heart prepare Him room

And heaven and nature sing, and heaven nature sing,

And heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

 

Joy to the world! The Savior reigns

Let men their songs employ

While fields and flocks, Rocks hills and plainsong

Repeat the sounding joy, repeat the sounding joy

Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

 

He rules the world with truth and grace

And makes the nations prove

The glories of his righteousness,

And wonders of his love, and wonders of his love,

And wonders and wonders of his love.

 

#251 Silent Night

Words by Joseph Mohr

Music by Franz Xaver Gruber


Silent night, holy night!

All is calm, all is bright.

Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child

Holy infant so tender and mild,

Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.

 

Silent night, holy night!

Shepherds quake at the sight

Glories stream from heaven afar

Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia,

Christ the Savior is born! Christ the Savior is born!

 

Silent night, holy night!

Son of God, love’s pure light

Radiant beams from thy holy face

With the dawn of redeeming grace,

Jesus Lord at thy birth, Jesus Lord at thy birth.

 

Extinguishing the Chalice

 

Closing Circle

May faith in the spirit of life,

And hope for the community of earth

And love of the light in each other

Be ours now, and in all the days to come.

 

Silent leaving

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