PRELUDE:  Variations on “Puer Nobis” by Michael Burkhardt



INTROIT:  What Star is This? (Based on “Puer Nobis”) arr. by Michael Bedford

What star is this, with beams so bright, more beauteous than the noonday light?  It shines to herald forth the King, and Gentiles to his crib to bring.  Thus spake the prophet from afar who told the rise of Jacob’s star; and eastern sages with amaze upon the wondrous token gaze.  The guiding star above is bright, within them shines a clearer light, and leads them on with power benign to seek the Giver of the sign.  To God the Father, heavenly Light, to Christ, revealed in earthly night, to God the Holy Ghost we raise our equal and unceasing praise.  [Charles Coffin]


HYMN:  What Star Is This, with Beams so Bright [Puer Nobis Nascitur]


SCRIPTURE LESSON:  Matthew 2:1-12

SOLO:  The Kings by Peter Cornelius; Marcus Carline, bass

Three kings from Persian lands afar to Jordan follow the pointing star: and this the quest of the travelers three, where the newborn King of the Jews may be.  Full royal gifts they bear for the King; Gold, incense, myrrh are their offering.  The star shines out with a steadfast ray; the Kings to Bethlehem make their way, and there in worship they bend the knee, as Mary’s child in her lap they see; their royal gifts they show to the King, gold, incense, myrrh are their offering.  Thou child of man, lo, to Bethlehem.  The kings are travelling – travel with them!  The star of mercy, the star of grace, shall lead thy heart to its resting-place.  Gold, incense, myrrh thou canst not bring; offer thy heart to the infant King, offer thy heart! [Trans. H. N. Bate]

SERMON:  “Witnesses”

HYMN:  As with Gladness Men of Old [Dix]



HYMN:  For the Bread Which You Have Broken [Kingdom]


RESPONSE:  Jesus Child by John Rutter

Have you heard the story that they’re telling ‘bout Bethlehem, have you heard the story of the Jesus child?  How he came from heaven and was born in a manger bed?  Mary was his virgin mother pure and mild.  Sing alleluia, brothers, sing alleluia, sisters, worship the Jesus child and praise his mother mild.  ‘Glory to God on high’ the angel hosts above are singing: listen to the story of the Jesus child.  Have you heard the story of the poor humble shepherd men, sitting on the hillside with their flocks at night?  Suddenly the angel tells them: ‘Hurry to Bethlehem; go and find the Jesus child, the world’s new light.’  Jesus child, lying at Bethlehem, sleeping safe at Mary’s knee, save my soul and bring me to paradise, let me join the angels singing glory to thee.  Have you heard the story of the kings from the orient, following the star that’s shining over his head?  Offering their precious gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense, kneeling with the ox and ass before his bed?  Brothers, let us celebrate the birth of the Jesus child, sisters, come and welcome him, the new-born King; praise the Lord who sent him down from heaven at Christmas time; young and old and rich and poor, his praises sing.


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