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A Festival of Lessons & Carols


Welcome to our Festival of Lessons & Carols on December 21, 2014 • 12:30 – 1:30 PM.

Download this liturgy (PDF)


Through readings from God’s Holy Word, we will recount the dramatic history of salvation. We will survey the whole panorama of redemptive history from the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2-3, through the promises to the Patriarchs, the Prophets, the Psalms, and to their climactic fulfillment in the Gospels: the Incarnation of the Eternal Word. Finally, we look forward to the return of the God-Man to this earth in Revelation 21-22.

Patterned after Scriptures’ covenantal dialogue between God and his people, God speaks in the Scripture read and briefly explained; then the people respond in songs of praise.

This service is modeled after the Anglican “Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols” first drawn up for a Christmas Eve service in 1880. This “festival” was later modified in 1918 for King’s College in Cambridge, England. Since then, this service has been adapted for use in Christian churches all over the world.

You can listen live online to the Festival at King’s College on BBC Radio 4 on 24 December at 7:00 AM PST or 10:00 AM EST.

We hope this service causes you to reflect with wonder and awe upon the great significance of the incarnation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to trust in Him alone for salvation, and to look forward with hope to His second coming.

Below is our liturgy.



God Calls Us to Worship

Call to Worship: Psalm 98:1-4; Galatians 4:4-5
Prayer of Invocation

The Birth of Jesus in the Prophets and the Psalms

First Lesson: After Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, God announces that the Seed of the woman shall crush the head of the serpent.

Scripture: Genesis 3:14-15; Psalm 2:7-9
Song: “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” (Blue #331:1, 3, 5)

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

Scripture: Genesis 22:15-18; Psalm 110:1-4
Song: “Joy to the World!” (Brown #171:1-4)

Third Lesson: The prophet Isaiah foretells the coming of the Savior, the Son of God.

Scripture: Isaiah 9:6-7, 53:7-10; Psalm 72:17
Song: “To Us a Child of Hope is Born” (tune only: “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night” #175)

1 To us a child of hope is born,
To us a son is giv’n,
Him shall the tribes of earth obey,
Him all the hosts of heaven. (2X)

2 His name shall be the Prince of Peace,
For evermore adored,
The Wonderful, the Counselor,
The great and mighty Lord. (2X)

3 His power, increasing, still shall spread,
His reign no end shall know;
Justice shall guard his throne above,
And peace abound below. (2X)

Fourth Lesson: The Lord promises to raise up a righteous branch from the tree of David who will be the Good Shepherd of his people.

Scripture: Jeremiah 23:2-6; Psalm 23:1-3, 6

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” (Blue #331:2, 4)

1 O come, Thou Branch of Jesse’s stem,
Unto Thine own, and rescue them!
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them vict’ry o’er the grave.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

2 O come, Thou Lord of David’s key!
The gate of heaven unfolds to Thee;
Make safe for us the heavenward road,
And bar the way to death’s abode. Refrain

The LORD’s My Shepherd” (Brown #40:1, 2, 5)

1 The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want.
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; He leadeth me
The quiet waters by.

2 My soul He doth restore again;
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
Even for His own Name’s sake.

5 Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me;
And in God’s house forevermore
My dwelling place shall be.

The Birth of Jesus in the Gospels

Fifth Lesson: The angel Gabriel announces to the blessed virgin Mary the birth of Jesus, the Son of the Most High God.

Scripture: Luke 1:30-35; Psalm 132:11
Song: “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus” (Brown #168:1-2)

Sixth Lesson: The Gospel of Luke narrates the birth of Jesus.

Scripture: Luke 2:1-16; Psalm 148:4
Song: “Angels We Have Heard on High” (Brown #192:1-3)

Seventh Lesson (Sermon): True Comfort for God’s People

Scripture: Isaiah 40:1-5; Luke 2:22-36

1. The Serious Need for Comfort
2. Israel’s Fleeting Comfort
3. The Christian’s Eternal Comfort

Song: “Fairest Lord Jesus” (Brown #240:1, 3, 4)

Eighth Lesson: The apostle John unfolds the great mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God.

Scripture: Psalm 18:27-28; John 1:1-14 (Responsive Reading from the NIV; pastor and congregation alternately read the verses)

Our Blessed Hope

Ninth Lesson: Our blessed hope is the Second Coming of Christ with the new heaven and new earth.

Scripture: Psalm 48:1-3; Revelation 21:1-4; 22:20
Song: “O Come, All Ye Faithful” (Brown #193:1-3)

We Go Forth Glorifying and Praising God

Prayer of Thanksgiving
Benediction: 2 Corinthians 13:14
Doxology: “Angels, from the Realms of Glory” (verse 5)

Saints and angels join in praising
Thee, the Father, Spirit, Son,
Evermore their voices raising
To th’ Eternal Three in One.
Come and worship, come and worship!
Worship Christ, the newborn King!

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