Earthrise: Christmas Eve


40 years ago, Apollo 8 orbited the Moon on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve at St Nicholas – 430PM family service, 9PM Lessons, Carols, and Eucharist.


I have to be in Elk Grove by 8pm for rehearsal before the 9pm service at St Nicholas, but don’t get off work until 5pm. It’ll make for a LONG, cold, snowy night, but it’ll be wonderful if we can pull it off, as we’ve worked on some of this music for months. The highlight for me is probably John Rutter’s “What Sweeter Music,” but we’re also doing some old, rarely heard Christmas hymns from the 1940 Hymnal and some modern arrangements of traditional carols like “People Look East.” I’m off the hook for the family service at 430pm – partly because I’m working, but none of the choir are required to be there as it’s very much a “DIY” music kind of service. We’ve got enough on our plate with all the extra “Lessons and Carols” music in addition to the regular service music and hymns.  I tend to think we’re doing too much… it’s a lot to ask people to sit through on a cold, wintry, stormy night.


Particularly appropriate this year: “In The Bleak Midwinter.” I love singing the alto line on that: “frosty wind made moan.” Oh, yeah, I’ll be moaning about the frosty wind as I drive home sometime around 1030pm… 

Via: Flickr Title: Earthrise: Christmas Eve By: GinnyRED57
Originally uploaded: 24 Dec ’08, 10.04am CST PST

Full program follows after the jump…



Prelude:                                                “Joyeaux Noel”              G. Young

Bell ringing (bring your own!)

Processional Hymn -                     “Once In Royal David’s City”   trad.

Bidding Prayer (not an auction, it’s a traditional Christmas prayer)

Lessons and Carols

First Lesson        Humankind is created and God is delighted      Genesis

Choral Response            “People Look East”                                          trad.

Second Lesson      Christ’s birth and kingdom foretold                   Isaiah

Choral Response              “O Come O Come Emmanuel”             N. Sleeth

Third Lesson                   The peace of Christ is foreshown                      Isaiah

Choral Response             “The Peace Carol” (women)                             R. Beers

Fourth Lesson        The Angel Gabriel salutes the Virgin Mary         Luke

Choral Response                “The Angel Gabriel”                                          trad.

Fifth Lesson                       The birth of Christ                                             Luke

Choral and Congregation    “Away In A Manger”                       R. Kirkpatrick

Sixth Lesson                The shepherds go to the manger                        Luke

Choral Response           “The Shepherds Prayer” (men)       R. Kirkpatrick

Seventh Lesson        The wise men are led by the star                       Matthew

Choral Response                     “What Sweeter Music”                         J. Rutter

Eighth Lesson                          The mystery of the Incarnation              John

Choral Response                 “O Come All Ye Faithful”                                 trad.


Huge Sigh of Relief               CHOIR AND ORGANIST




Eucharist                               Service music is based on Christmas carols

Offertory                                  “O Little Town of Bethlehem”

Sanctus and Benedictus            (to the tune of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”)

The Great Amen                       (to the tune of “What Child Is This”

The Lord’s Prayer

Breaking of the Bread   (HUGE LOAF OF BREAD to tear up into chunks)

Agnus Dei                                (to the tune of “It Came Upon The Midnight Clear”)


Communion Hymns       “Of The Father’s Love Begotten”

                                                “In The Bleak Midwinter”

Choral Anthem                “Dost Thou In A Manger Lie” (ensemble)

Post-Communion Prayer

Hymn                          “Silent Night” (in German and English with guitar)


Recessional Hymn                    “The First Noel”

Dismissal                   THANKS BE TO GOD (DRIVE SAFELY!)

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One thought on “Earthrise: Christmas Eve

  1. What is the choral anthem for “Dost thou in a manger lie?” I love this hymn and am hoping my performing group to will sing it in 2009. Could you give more information please? (publisher, author, arranger, voice parts, instrumental accom.. etc.)


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