Summary: A Christmas Eve Serivce with a message on Jesus as the light of the World

Christmas Eve The Stories Behind the Carols

P. Bruce: Welcome & introduction

Carols: Getting it Right

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Stephanie: "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" is a Christmas carol which first appeared in Hymns and Sacred Poems in 1739. having been written by Charles Wesley . A sombre man, Wesley requested slow and solemn music for his lyrics and thus it was sung to a different tune initially.

Michael: Hark! Is the exclamation prelude to a formal announcement. The Carol point to the incredible moments when lowly shepherds heard from the voice of an angel that the long awaited savior had been born.

P. Bruce: The original opening couplet was "Hark! how all the welkin rings / Glory to the King of Kings".

Welkin is an archaic, English term; it refers to the sky, the upper air, the firmament, the heavens or the Celestial sphere

Cheryl: I can top that piece of trivia. Did you know that there are at least 48 different Christmas Carols Written beginning with the word Hark

P. Bruce: Hark! Announcement is made. The only begotten one, the shining radiance of God's Glory has come to earth. As of the late 20th century, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing had become the most popular traditional Christmas carol. We welcome you to our Christmas Eve Service and invite to sing with us. . .


Cheryl: "Adeste Fideles" or O, Come, All Ye Faithful, is a hymn tune attributed to John Francis Wade (although the exact authorship is unknown and disputed). The text itself has unclear beginnings, and may have been written as early as the 13th century.

Stephanie: The original four verses of the hymn were extended to a total of eight, and these have been translated into many languages many times, though the English "O Come All Ye Faithful" translation by an English Roman Catholic priest is the widespread and common translation.

Michael: The Carol is an invitation to be a worshipper at Christmas--to come and worship the savior at his birth. It is often the Call to Worship in services held on Christmas morning. Yea, Lord, we greet thee,

Born this happy morning; Jesus, to thee be glory given! Word of the Father, Now in flesh appearing!

Oh, come, let us adore Him,

Sing with us. . .


Cheryl: We don't know the hymn histories of all the carols but we do know some specific things about another very popular Carol. The words are by English hymn writer Isaac Watts, based on Psalm 98 in the Bible. Listen to the Psalm and see if you can guess which carol was based upon it.

Pastor: Ps 98:1 Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. 2 The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. 3 He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Michael: 4 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; 5 make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, 6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram's horn -- shout for joy before the Lord, the King.

Stephanie: 7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. 8 Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; 9 let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity. NIV

Cheryl: Isacc Watts was inspired by Ps 98 when he wrote the words of "Joy to the World."

He wrote it as a hymn glorifying Christ's triumphant return at the end of the age, rather than a Christmas song celebrating his first coming as a babe born in a stable.

When it is sung today only the second half of Watts' lyrics are still used.

Pastor: As of the late 20th century, "Joy to the World" was the most-published Christmas hymn in North America.


Do You Hear what I Hear?

Stephanie: It's not just the traditional Christmas songs that have a bit of history behind them.

Michael: "Do You Hear What I Hear?" is a Christmas song written in October 1962 with lyrics by Noël Regney and music by Gloria Shayne Baker. The pair were married at the time, and wrote it as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It has sold tens of millions of copies and has been covered by hundreds of different artists.

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