This Third Sunday of Advent will be a mix of Advent and Christmas as we rejoice in the Children’s Christmas Pageant and light the Advent Candle of Joy. Once again this year the Pageant will be based on the Gloria and Bill Gaither song, “Come and See What’s Happenin’ in the Barn!” sung by John Atwood, Randy and Storme Odell, Bridget Peters and Marcia Tomlinson, with Randy Odell on guitar. The same performers will also sing “Light of the Stable” by Elizabeth & Steven Rhymer as the Anthem. (You can hear an Emmylou Harris recording of it here. “Light of the Stable” is the second youtube recording on that page.)
The congregation will sing O Little Town of Bethlehem, Joy to the World and Come Thou Long Expected Jesus (set to the beautiful tune, Hyfrydol). We will end again this week by singing the benediction set to the music of the oldest Advent hymn, the plainchant Conditor Alme, that has been sung daily in monasteries during Advent since the 7th Century.
Organist John Atwood will play Johan Pachelbel’s Prelude Chorale on “From Heaven unto Earth I Come,” and then the choir will sing that hymn as the Introit. John’s Offertory and Postlude will be by the French baroque organist and composer, Jean-François Dandrieu: “Joseph you are joyful” and “Noel for the love of Mary.”
We will read Isaiah 12:2-6 responsively and hear the traditional Third Sunday of Advent text from Philippians 4, starting with the exhortation to “Rejoice in the Lord always!” This is called Gaudete Sunday, which means “Rejoice” Sunday, because the Philippians passage was the first reading in the traditional mass for this day. The sermon will explore why we can still rejoice always, no matter what is going on in the world or in our lives.
Below are descriptions of the next three special Advent and Christmas services:
CHRISTMAS SUNDAY On Sunday, December 20th, at 10:00 AM we will have our traditional Christmas Sunday celebration, with the story of the Annunciation and Birth interspersed with beloved Christmas carols. We will light the four Advent candles, Hope, Peace, Joy and Love, and end the service with the great Advent hymn, O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE Please note the new time! We will be having the Christmas Eve service of lessons, carols and candles at 6:00 PM this year to help families with young children attend and others who have Christmas Eve gatherings. Besides the lessons and carols we will have a Christmas story, special choral and organ music, and Bridget Peters and Betsy Alexander singing a candlelit duet of Once in Royal David’s City. We will end with the congregation lighting candles and singing Silent Night. The service lasts approximately one hour.
CAROL SING AND FAVORITE CHRISTMAS THINGS SUNDAY On Sunday, December 27th, at 10:00AM, we will have a very informal service with a carol-sing by request—whatever favorites you did not get to sing enough during Advent. You are also invited to bring a brief favorite Christmas story to tell, either personal story or a classic tale, or poems or quotes or songs—a kind of inspirational pot-luck. Feel free to bring favorite Christmas cookies and other treats to share as well!