Carol Service (Luke 1:26-38, Luke 2:1-20, Matthew 2:1-12, John 1:1-14)

Colin ThompsonColin Thompson, 24th December 2017

from a Christmas Sermon (1521)
Martin Luther (1483-1546)


Download file: Adobe Acrobat Wheatley carols 2017.pdf

Luke 1:26-38

26Now in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28Having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, you highly favored one! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women!" 29But when she saw him, she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered what kind of salutation this might be. 30The angel said to her, "Don't be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31Behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and will call his name 'Jesus.' 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father, David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever. There will be no end to his Kingdom." 34Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, seeing I am a virgin?" 35The angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore also the holy one who is born from you will be called the Son of God. 36Behold, Elizabeth, your relative, also has conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37For everything spoken by God is possible." 38Mary said, "Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it to me according to your word." The angel departed from her. (WEB)

Luke 2:1-20

1Now it happened in those days, that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. 2This was the first enrollment made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to enroll themselves, everyone to his own city. 4Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David; 5to enroll himself with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him as wife, being pregnant. 6It happened, while they were there, that the day had come that she should give birth. 7She brought forth her firstborn son, and she wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a feeding trough, because there was no room for them in the inn. 8There were shepherds in the same country staying in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock. 9Behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10The angel said to them, "Don't be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be to all the people. 11For there is born to you, this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12This is the sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a feeding trough." 13Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army praising God, and saying, 14"Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will toward men." 15It happened, when the angels went away from them into the sky, that the shepherds said one to another, "Let's go to Bethlehem, now, and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." 16They came with haste, and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby was lying in the feeding trough. 17When they saw it, they publicized widely the saying which was spoken to them about this child. 18All who heard it wondered at the things which were spoken to them by the shepherds. 19But Mary kept all these sayings, pondering them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, just as it was told them. (WEB)

Matthew 2:1-12

1Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, 2"Where is he who is born King of the Jews? For we saw his star in the east, and have come to worship him." 3When King Herod heard it, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he asked them where the Christ would be born. 5They said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is written through the prophet, 6'You Bethlehem, land of Judah, are in no way least among the princes of Judah: for out of you shall come forth a governor, who shall shepherd my people, Israel.'" 7Then Herod secretly called the wise men, and learned from them exactly what time the star appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem, and said, "Go and search diligently for the young child. When you have found him, bring me word, so that I also may come and worship him." 9They, having heard the king, went their way; and behold, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the young child was. 10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11They came into the house and saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Opening their treasures, they offered to him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12Being warned in a dream that they shouldn't return to Herod, they went back to their own country another way. (WEB)

John 1:1-14

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him. Without him was not anything made that has been made. 4In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness hasn't overcome it. 6There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. 7The same came as a witness, that he might testify about the light, that all might believe through him. 8He was not the light, but was sent that he might testify about the light. 9The true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world didn't recognize him. 11He came to his own, and those who were his own didn't receive him. 12But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God's children, to those who believe in his name: 13who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14The Word became flesh, and lived among us. We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. (WEB)

About Colin Thompson: Revd Dr Colin Thompson is Associate Minister of Wheatley URC and Emeritus Fellow, St Catherine's College, Oxford.

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