We gathered Sunday night to hear and sing the story of God’s love, from the garden to the manger. One of the things that struck me this year is that the Lessons & Carols service celebrates Christ’s first coming without ignoring the sorrows of life before Christ’s second coming. Advent without longing slides quickly into a Christmas of empty sentimentality. The recognition of the “now, but not yet” was brought home in the words of Jack’s opening prayer, which reminded us that we join with “those on another shore” in our prayers for people in mourning, poverty, doubt, and war. His prayer was bookended by Dorothy Otte’s benediction at the end of the service, using the words of Revelation 21:1-4, giving us hope for a day when God will wipe every tear from our eyes, and death, mourning, crying and pain will be no more. Listen below to the scriptures we read and the songs we sang:

Prelude: Good Christian Friends, Rejoice (PsH 355)

Processional Carol: Dawning Light of Our Salvation (Wendell Kimbrough and Bruce Benedict, 2012)

Scott (vocal/mandocello) and Erin (vocal/violin) De Young

Bidding prayer and Lord’s Prayer (Rev. Jack Roeda)

Bidding Carol: O Come All Ye Faithful (PsH 340)

FIRST LESSON: Genesis 3:8-15 (Margaret Vriend)

Carol: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus (PsH 329)

SECOND LESSON: Genesis 22:15-18 (Lois De Vries)

Carol: When God Promised Many Children (Andrew Donaldson, 2012)

THIRD LESSON: Isaiah 9:2,6-7 (Tom Vander Molen)

Carol: Come Now, O Prince of Peace/Ososo (SNC 209)

FOURTH LESSON: Isaiah 12 (Joshua Baron)

Carol: Rejoice and Sing Your Praise (Carlos Colón-Quintana, 2012)

Laura de Jong, solo

FIFTH LESSON: Luke 1:26-38 (Christy Choi)

Carol: Dixit Maria Ad Angelum (Hans Leo Hassler)

SIXTH LESSON: Matthew 1:18-23 (Margaret Hosack)

Carols: Sing Alleluia (Francis Patrick O’Brien; GIA, 1996) and Good News (Natalie Sleeth; Hinshaw, 1980)

SEVENTH LESSON: Luke 2:8-16 (Solomon Baron)

Carols: While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night (PsH 215) and Angels from the Realms of Glory (PsH 354)

Benediction (Dorothy Otte, Revelation 22:1-4)

Recessional Carol: Jesus, the Light of the World