Carols Around the Crib


Emmanuel - God with us


From the west end of the church, carollers sing.


Choir:               Infant holy, Infant lowly

Infant holy, Infant lowly,

For his bed a cattle stall;

Oxen lowing, little knowing

Christ the Babe is Lord of all.

Swift are winging, angels singing,

Nowells ringing,

Tidings bringing:

Christ the Babe is Lord of all,

Christ the Babe is Lord of all.


Flocks were sleeping, shepherds keeping

Vigil till the morning new,

Saw the glory, heard the story,

Tidings of a Gospel true.

Thus rejoicing, free from sorrow,

Praises voicing, greet the morrow,

Christ the Babe was born for you!

Christ the Babe was born for you!


Words: Polish. Trans. E M G Reed

Music: Polish. Arr. E M G Reed


 The Bidding Prayer


Eternal God,

we worship you in your greatness.

We welcome you in your nearness.

We are humbled by your eagerness to find a place in our hearts.


Author of Life,

for all new-born infants we pray;

For the healthy,

for those who give concern,

for the abandoned.


Source of all Love,

upon their mothers we ask your blessing;

for hearts filled with tenderness and love,

for eyes tearful at a precious gift,

for minds fearful for the safety of their child.


We assemble about the crib wherein lies the new-born Son of Mary.


The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.

All:  And we beheld His Glory.


Processional Carol:       41        It came upon the midnight clear


OT Lesson:                  Isaiah 35


Carol:                           45        To us a child of royal birth        


NT Lesson:                  Colossians 1, 9-20


Carol (All):                               Calypso Carol


During which the choir form a station by the Crib


See him lying on a bed of straw,

Draughty stable with an open door,

Mary cradling the babe she bore;

The Prince of Glory is his name:


O now carry me to Bethlehem

To see the Lord appear to men,

Just as poor as was the stable then,

The Prince of Glory when he came.


Star of silver, sweep across the skies,

Show where Jesus in the manger lies;

Shepherds, swiftly from your stupor rise

To see the Saviour of the world:


Angels, sing again the song you sang,

Bring God's glory to the heart of man;

Sing that Bethlem's little baby can

Be salvation to the soul.


Mine are riches from your poverty;

From your innocence, eternity,

Mine, forgiveness by your death for me,

Child of sorrow for my Joy:


Michael Perry (1942- )


A Christmas Litany in Words and in Music


Please be seated


The Word made flesh


Spoken:            That Holy Thing


They were all looking for a king

To slay their foes and lift them high;

Thou cam'st, a little baby thing

That made a woman cry.


George Macdonald (1824-1905)


Choir:               Sweet was the Virgin's song


Sweet was the Virgin's song,

When she to Bethlem Juda came

And was delivered of a son,

That blessed Jesus hath to name.

Lulla, lulla, lulla, lullaby.

Lulla, lulla, lulla, lullaby.


'Sweet babe,' sung she, 'sweet babe,' sung she,

'My son, and eke a Saviour born,

Who hast vouchsafed from on high

To visit us that were forlorn;

Lalula, lullaby, sweet babe.

Lulla, lulla, lulla, lullaby.

Lulla, lulla, lulla, lullaby'

Sang she,

And rockt him sweetly,

and rockt him on her knee.


Words:  From William Ballet's Lute Book

Music:  Andrew Moore (b. 1954)





"The God who is ever uttering Himself in the changeful profusions of nature;

who takes millions of years to form a soul that shall understand Him and be blessed;

who never needs to be, and never is, in haste;

who welcomes the simplest thought of truth or beauty as the return for seed He has sown upon the old fallows of eternity;

who rejoices in the response of a faltering moment to the age-long cry of His wisdom in the streets;

the God of music, of painting, of building, the Lord of Hosts, the God of mountains and oceans;

whose laws go forth from one unseen point of wisdom, and thither return without an atom of loss;

the God of history working in time….


Our longing desires can no more exhaust the fullness of the treasures of the God-head, than our imagination can touch their measure.

Of Him not a thought, not a joy, not a hope of one of His creatures can pass unseen;

and while one of them remains unsatisfied, He is not Lord over all."


George Macdonald (1824-1905)


Choir:               Poverty


All poor men and humble,

All lame men who stumble,

Come haste ye, nor feel ye afraid;

For Jesus, our treasure,

With love past all measure,

In lowly poor manger was laid.


Though wise men who found him

Laid rich gifts around him,

Yet oxen they gave him their hay:

And Jesus in beauty

Accepted their duty;

Contented in manger he lay.


Then haste we to show him

The praises we owe him;

Our service he ne'er can despise:

Whose love still is able

To show us that stable

Where softly in manger he lies.


Words:  Welsh Congregational Union

Music:    Caradog Roberts


God with us


Spoken:            From - The Hound of Heaven


I fled him, down the nights and down the days;

I fled him, down the arches of the years;

I fled him, down the labyrinthine ways

Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears

I hid from him, and under running laughter.

Up vistaed hopes I sped;

And shot, precipitated,

Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,

From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.

But with unhurrying chase,

And unperturbed pace,

Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,

They beat - and a Voice beat

More instant than the Feet -

'All things betray thee, who betrayest me' ….


Halts by me that footfall;

Is my gloom, after all,

Shade of his hand, outstretched, caressingly?

'Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,

I am he whom thou seekest!

Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest me.'


Francis Thompson (1859-1907)

Choir:               Coventry Carol


Lully, lulla,

Thou little tiny child,

By by, lully, lullay.


O sisters too,

How may we do

 for to preserve this day

This poor youngling,

For whom we do sing,

By by. Luly lullay?


Herod the king,

In his raging,

Charged he hath this day

His men of might.

In his own sight,

All young children to slay.


That woe is me,

Poor child for thee!

And ever morn and day,

For thy parting

Neither say nor sing

By by, lully, lullay!


Lully, lulla,

Thou little tiny child,

By by, lully, lullay.


Words:  Pageant of the Shearmen and Taylors, 15th century.

Music:  Trad. 1591. Arr. Martin Shaw




O Son of Man, to right my lot

Naught but thy presence can avail;

Yet on the road thy wheels are not,

Nor on the sea thy sail!


My how or when thou wilt not heed,

But come down thine own secret stair,

That thou mayst answer all my need -

Yea, every bygone prayer.


George Macdonald (1824-1905)


Carol (All):                   40        O little town of Bethlehem


Christ for us


Choir:               Lulling her child


Lulling her child to quiet sleep,

Gently she sang,

Sang to the darling Child she loves,

Watching o'er him.

"Sleep, my delight, my Child, sleep well,

God's Son you are.

Sleep, little Child of mine, lie still,

Hope of the world."


"For you I've made the cradle here,

Saviour of all;

For you I've bought these creatures near,

Singing your praise.

Sleep now, my Beauty, my dear Child,

O Crown supreme,

Blessing you bring to all mankind,

All who love you."


"Sleep, 'tis your mother's wish for you,

My little Dove.

Sleep, joy of all the angel host,

My little Pearl.

Glory and praise to you be giv'n.

Dear Child by me.

Waking, you'll eat sweet honey here,

Brought by the bee."


Words:   Czech Carol. Trans. Edward Bliss Reed

Music:    Czech Trad. Arr. Richard Donovan




I heard the bells on Christmas day

Their old familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet

The words repeat,

Of 'Peace on earth, good will to men!'


And in despair I bowed my head;

'There is no peace on earth,' I said.

'For hate is strong

And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good will to men!'


Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

'God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!

The wrong shall fail,

The right prevail,

With peace on earth, good will to men!'


Henry Wordsworth Longfellow (1807-82)





Carol (seated): 


Still the night, holy the night,

All is dark, save the light

Shining where the mother mild

Watches o'er the holy child.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Sleep in heavenly peace.


Still the night, holy the night,

Shepherds first saw the sight,

Heard resounding clear and long

Far and near the angel song:

Christ our Saviour is here!

Christ our Saviour is here!


Still the night, holy the night,

Son of God, Oh how bright

Shines the love in thy holy face,

Shines the light of redemption and grace

Saviour, since Thou art born!

Saviour, since Thou art born!


Words:  Joseph Mohr

Tr. David Willcocks and Stopford Augustus Brooke

Music:  Franz Gruber arr. H. Carol/GJ




Prayers of Intercession


Christ, who was born in a stable,

Give courage to all who are homeless.

In your mercy

Hear our prayer.


Christ, who fled into Egypt,

Give comfort to all refugees.

In your mercy

Hear our prayer.


Christ, who fasted in the desert,

Give relief to all who are starving.

In your mercy

Hear our prayer.


Christ, who hung in agony on the cross,

Give strength to all who suffer.

In your mercy

Hear our prayer.


Christ, who died to save us,

Give us your forgiveness.

In your mercy

Hear our prayer.


Save us to-day, and use us in your loving purpose,

To your glory.  Amen.



Carol:               42        In the bleak midwinter



Almighty God,

who wonderfully created us in your own image

and yet more wonderfully restored us through your son Jesus Christ:

grant that as he came to share in our humanity,

so we may share the life of his divinity;

who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

All. Amen.


Invitation to Praise


Break forth, O beauteous, heavenly light,

And usher in the morning;

Ye shepherds, shrink not with affright,

But hear the angel's warning.

This child, now weak in infancy,

Our confidence and joy shall be.

Th pow'r of Satan breaking,

Our peace eternal making.

 Trans. J . Troutbeck.


Carol:               19  BCB Ed. 47.    On Christmas night 


The Blessing