Welcome to Carols in the Carpark

We are so glad that you can join us for this carol service!

This webpage contains all the carols that we are going to sing and the reading that we are going to read together. 

Have a great time, sing loudly… and remember to stay socially distanced! 

O Come all ye faithful 

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14 N.I.V. 

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 eternal
Lo he abhors not the virgin’s womb; 
Very God, begotten not created

See how the shepherds, summoned to his cradle,
Leaving their flocks, draw nigh with lowly fear;
We too will thither bend our joyful footsteps:

Lo! Star-led chieftains, Magi, Christ adoring,
offer him incense, gold and myrrh;
we to the Christ child bring our hearts’ oblations:

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation,
O sing, all ye bright hosts of heav’n above;
Glory to God, all glory in the highest.

Good News!

Graham Williams fought with the Fifth London Rifle Brigade in the trenches of the First World War. He was there when the Christmas truce of 1914 took place and described what happened: 

“First the Germans would sing one of their carols, and then we would sing one of ours, until when we started up ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful’ the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn to the Latin words Adeste Fideles. And I thought, well, this is really a most extraordinary thing ­– two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.

What Graham Williams experienced was remarkable. Men engaged in one of the most brutal conflicts that the world has ever seen, stopped fighting and sang the same carol. A carol that speaks about the eternal God taking on human flesh, and coming as God’s King. 

The Christmas peace of 1914 was tragically short but the child described in ‘Oh Come all ye faithful’ is the king who will bring eternal peace. 

The prophet Isaiah foresaw his coming and declared:  

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 N.I.V.

One day the guns will fall silent forever under the reign of the prince of peace, King Jesus. 

And that’s good news. 

Once in Royal David’s city

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.

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.

And through all his wondrous childhood
day by day like us he grew,
he was little, weak and helpless,
tears and smiles like us he knew;
and he feels for all our sadness,
and he shares in all 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;
there his children gather round
bright like stars, with glory crowned.

C F Alexander (1818-1895)

Good news.

‘Royal David’s city’ is a reference to Bethlehem. It wasn’t so much a city as a small town, but it was where David, Israel’s greatest king had come from. 

Have you ever thought about why Jesus was born in Bethlehem?

Prophets had foretold centuries before that God’s king would be born there, but what was it that took Joseph and heavily pregnant Mary to the little town? 

You could say that it was a decision by the most powerful man in the world which led to Jesus being born right where the prophets foretold.

The gospel writer Luke tells us that the Emperor in Rome had decided to take up a census. Joseph’s family was from Bethlehem, and so that’s where they had to go in order to register. 

While it would certainly be true to say that it was a decision of the Emperor which led to Jesus being born in Bethlehem, it wouldn’t be a complete answer. 

The world can often seem a confusing and chaotic place, and this year has been no exception!

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, right where God told the prophets that he would be born. It didn’t happen just because the Emperor made a decision.

He was certainly very powerful, but God is more powerful. He rules over history, he rules over kings and emperors, and he rules over presidents and prime ministers.

And that’s good news. 

Silent Night, Holy Night

There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.”

Luke 2:8 N.I.V.

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 Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour 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 

Did you know? 

Silent Night was originally a poem written by a young priest named Joseph Franz Mohr in 19th century Austria. Some history has been lost in the mists of time, but it may well be the case, that because flooding had damaged the church organ the young priest asked a local schoolmaster to compose a melody to go with the poem which could be played on a guitar.  A challenging Christmas led to the composing of one of the best known Christmas carols!

Reading from Matthew 1:18-22

LEADER

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[d]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[e] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f] because he will save his people from their sins.”

ALL

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[g] (which means “God with us”).

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Luke 2:14 N.I.V.

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 Immanuel.

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 men no more may die;
Born to raise the sons of earth;
Born to give them second birth.

Good News 

‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’ was written by the hymn writer Charles Wesley. In fact what he actually wrote was “Hark how all the welkin rings.”

‘Welkin’ is a word that we don’t tend to use today which refers to the ‘sky’ or ‘the heavens.’ 

Wesley’s line never really caught on, even back in 1739. It was the preacher George Whitfield who changed the words to those which we know today. 

The carol is a great explanation of why Christmas is such good news.

The first verse reminds us of the good news that the Christ, God’s promised king has been born.

The second verse rejoices that Jesus is none other than God, really come to be with us, and the final verse lays explains why this is such good news. 

It’s good news because Jesus came to deal with humanities’ biggest problem. 

We are sinful, and our sin means that we will die, but Jesus has come, so that our sin can be forgiven, our broken relationship with God can be restored, and so that we can be really changed.

This happens as we turn from sin to Jesus and receive from him the gift of forgiveness that he offers.  

And that’s very good news!

Thank you for joining us today! 

We trust and pray that you will have a very happy Christmas.

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