A Stable-place


The Choir sings a carol from the west


Away in a manger                                                            BCB 7


The Choir and Clergy process while we all sing ‘O little town of Bethlehem’ BCB 3    


Please sit


The Choir forms a station at the Crib


Voice:              And is it true? And is it true,

This most tremendous tale of all,

Seen in a stained-glass window’s hue,

A Baby in an ox’s stall?

The Maker of the stars and sea

Become a child on earth for me?



Sing Lullaby                                                     Old Basque Carol



1      Sing Lullaby!

Lullaby baby, now reclining,

Sing Lullaby!

Hush, do not wake the Infant King.

Angels are watching, stars are shining

Over the place where he is lying: Sing lullaby.


2      Sing Lullaby!

Lullaby baby, now a-sleeping,

Sing Lullaby!

Soon will come sorrow with the morning,

Soon will come bitter grief and weeping:

Sing lullaby.


3      Sing Lullaby!

Lullaby baby, now a-dozing,

Sing Lullaby!

Soon comes the cross, the nails a-piercing,

Then in the grave at last reposing:

Sing lullaby.


4      Sing Lullaby!

Lullaby baby, now a-waking,

Sing Lullaby!

Dreaming of Easter, gladsome morning,

Conquering death, its bondage breaking.

Sing lullaby.


From an old Basque Noel

arr. By Edgar Pettman



Evening Prayer from p 18


Preces and Responses                                                          Ferial


Psalm  135 (13-21)                      Chant Lawes in B flat (OCB10)

OT Lesson                                                          Isaiah 46. 3-13

Magnificat                                                                          Set B    

Joy to the World (BCB 16)                                        Isaac Watts

NT Lesson                                                       Matthew 2.13-23

Nunc Dimittis                                                                Set B

Creed, Lord’s Prayer, Lesser Litany, Collects


In Dulci Jubilo - Pearsall


1  In dulci jubilo, let us our homage shew;

Our heart's joy reclineth In praesepio

And like a bright star shineth, Matris in gremio.

Alpha es et O.

2  O Jesu parvule! I yearn for thee alway!

Hear me, I beseech thee, O Puer optime !

My prayer let it reach thee, O Princeps gloriae !

Trahe me post te !

3  O Patris caritas, O Nati lenitas !

Deeply were we stained Per nostra crimina;

But thou hast for us gained Coelorum gaudia

O that we were there !

4  Ubi sunt gaudia, where, If they be not there?

There are angels singing Nova cantica,

There the bells are ringing In Regis curia;

O that we were there!

Words:  Traditional  16th Century ? 

Music: Trad. arr. Pearsall




The Apple Tree                                     Elizabeth Poston


1          The tree of life my soul hath seen,

       Laden with fruit, and always green:

       The tree of nature fruitless be

       Compared with Christ the apple tree.


2          His beauty doth all things excel:

       By faith I know, but ne’er can tell

       The glory which I now can see

       In Jesus Christ the apple tree.


3          For happiness I long have sought,

       And pleasure dearly I have bought:

       I missed of all; but now I see

       ‘Tis found in Christ the apple tree.


4          I’m weary with my former toil,

       here I will sit and rest awhile:

       Under the shadow I will be,

       Of Jesus Christ the apple tree.


5          This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,

       It keeps my dying soul alive;

       Which makes my soul in haste to be

       With Jesus Christ the apple tree.



Music: Elizabeth Poston



It’s a week since Christmas Day. What’s left?


Not the parties; they are over. Not the colourful present wrappings; they’ve been discarded.


The children, each guarding their pile of gifts: ‘They’re mine!’


What were Mary and Joseph thinking? A foetid cattle-shed. A new-born baby. Broken sleep. Extreme weariness. Miles from their home in Nazareth.


Among strangers.


And odd visitors.


First: Weather-worn shepherds, excitedly jabbing their crooks. Not after sheep; they wanted to see the baby. Said they’d been given a description, directions, and a message – by a flock of angels! The infant would be their Deliverer, their Messiah.......


Mary had heard these words before; still, she may have shrunk from the thought; protective.


He’s only a baby. He belongs to us! Joseph, we must go home – now.


Then: A breathtaking entourage filled the doorway. Travel-worn, yet majestic. Guided by a star, they claimed.


And this time: gifts - beyond the imagination; Glistering Gold, Sharp Odours of Frankincense, Oil of Myrrh.


For my son?


They bowed low - as to royalty.


Who are these men? And why these exotic things?


Mary pondered, as she was to ponder all his life. A growing fear rose within her:


Not ours to keep. But ours to share.


Suddenly, terrifying news broke. Chilling rumours spread: Herod has ordered the execution of every boy child in Bethlehem under the age of two.


No! ….. No!!  She looked swiftly around the stable.

We’ll hide him!

Herod’s men are searching – everywhere, Joseph warned.

We’ll go home!

The way north to Nazareth is barred. But we could go south - to Egypt.



Joseph and Mary wrapped up the baby and, under cover of darkness, crept out of town, and fled - to Egypt, to a land of complete strangers.


There they sought asylum.



And this is the Son of God? A homeless refugee?


That same baby is abroad to-day. In the same sort of world – of sleepless nights; of weariness; of hurts; of pain; of ugly and tragic events; among strangers; and among people we don’t really want to know.


Jane Williams -


“God came without any protection, with no contingency plans to be lifted out of the human situation if it should go wrong, but simply to share our life, and to ask us to share the divine life.


God requires shelter and protection and nourishment and love, just as we do, because sharing is never one way.


It is never just a matter of us condescending to share out our riches, but needing nothing in return.


Part of our design is that we cannot be complete without what other people have to give us, just as they cannot be what they are meant to be without us. …. God gives us Jesus to share, just as God gives us every human being we meet.”


The Shepherd’s Farewell                                                 Berlioz


Thou must leave thy lowly dwelling, the humble crib, the stable bare,

Babe, all mortal babes excelling, content our earthly lot to share,

Loving father, loving mother. Shelter thee with tender care!


Blessed Jesu, we implore thee with humble love and holy fear.

In the land that lies before thee, forget not us who linger here!

May the shepherd's lowly calling, ever to thy heart be dear!


Blest are ye beyond all measure, thou happy father, mother mild!

Guard ye well your heav'nly treasure, The Prince of Peace, The Holy Child!

God go with you, God protect you, Guide you safely through the wild.


Words:  from 'The Childhood of Christ'  tr. Paul England         

Music: Hector Berlioz


Infant holy                                                                       BCB 23




Angels from the realms of glory                                      BCB 19




A Resolve for A New Year


Let us pray.


Let us adore the Father, the God of love.

He created us;

He continually preserves and sustains us;

He has loved us with an everlasting love, and given us the light of the knowledge of his glory in the face of Jesus Christ.

All: You are God; we praise you; we acknowledge you to be the Lord.


God promises to give us new life in Christ.

We are pledged to live no more for ourselves but for him.

Christ has many services to be done; some are easy, others

are difficult; some bring honour, others bring reproach;

some are suitable to our natural inclinations and material

interests, others are contrary to both. In some we may

please Christ and please ourselves, in others we cannot

please Christ except by denying ourselves. Yet the power

to do all these things is given us in Christ, who strengthens



Let us make this Resolve our own.

Let us give ourselves anew to him, trusting in his promises and

relying on his grace.


All: We are no longer our own, but yours, O Christ.


In the bleak midwinter                                                     BCB 22


The Blessing



I am no longer my own, but yours.

Put me to what you will,

rank me with whom you will;

put me to doing, put me to suffering;

let me be employed for you or laid aside for you,

exalted for you or brought low for you;

let me be full, let me be empty;

let me have all things, let me have nothing;

I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure

and disposal.


And now, glorious and blessed God, Father,

Son, and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours.

So be it.

And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified

in heaven