This Sunday our morning worship will include a Festival of Lessons and Carols. The nine scripture readings trace the story of man’s sin, God’s promise of redemption, and the fulfillment of that promise through the birth of Jesus. The readings are followed by carols reflecting on the meaning of the scripture.

I have been planning and participating in Lessons and Carols services for 40 years. Each has been different because of the music selected, but the message is always the same. There are two lines that have become favorites of mine. The first is from the traditional opening hymn, Once in Royal David’s City: “for that child so dear and gentle is our Lord in heaven above.”1

The other is from the final scripture. As wonderful as it is to hear Luke and Matthew tell of the child “lying in a manger” and the visits of shepherds and Wise Men, my heart sings when I hear John proclaim “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

Imagine! God came to earth as one of us and lived as one of us. “Mild he lays his glory by, born that we no more may die, born to raise us from the earth, born to give us second birth.”2

Now think back to that opening hymn: “And our eyes at last shall see him, through his own redeeming love…and he leads his children on to the place where he is gone.”1

Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift!3

May you find joy, hope, comfort, peace as we sing with the angels “glory to the newborn king!”2

Robin Zemp

1 Alexander, Cecil Frances, “Once in Royal David’s City”, 1948.
2 Wesley, Charles, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”, 1734.
3 2 Corinthians 9:15