A Virtual Candlelight Festival of Lessons and Carols In A Global Pandemic

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First Presbyterian Church of Ulysses Christmas Eve Worship 12-24-2020

Welcome to our virtual worship service this evening.  We are glad that you tuned in and hope you will feel God’s presence. 

As you play the video you can worship along with us by following this bulletin.


BOLD print indicates congregational participation

 PRELUDE                                            Pavan                             Orlando Gibbons

 PASTORAL WELCOME             

          The Lord be with you. And also with you… We welcome all who have come to worship together   as we celebrate in song and prayer the coming of Jesus to the world.

Choral Introit        O Come, All Ye Faithful          (ADESTE FIDELES)   Anne Bialk (Please, from the safety of your home, feel free to sing out with gusto.)

The Lighting of the Christ Candle                                                   Polly Gutelius

One: Every year we light our candles. We light the Hope, Peace, Joy, Love and the Christ Candle.
All:   We watch the flames flicker with wonder.
One: God’s light is here.
All:   This light is life for all people.
One: The darkness will never overcome it.      All:   The Word is with us. Thanks be to God. One: Let us be church. Let us worship God.

CAROL #108 (vs. 1&2)     Of the Father’s Love Begotten            (DIVINUM MYSTERIUM)(Please, from the safety of your home, feel free to sing out with gusto.)

1 Of the Father’s love begotten,
ere the worlds began to be,
he is Alpha and Omega;
he the source, the ending he,
of the things that are, that have been,
and that future years shall see,
evermore and evermore!

2 By his Word was all created;
he commanded; it was done:
heaven and earth and depths of ocean,
universe of three in one,
all that sees the moon’s soft shining,
all that breathes beneath the sun,
evermore and evermore!

THE LESSON                   THE GOSPEL of JOHN 1:1-5         Gary Buchner

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

CAROL #121 (vs. 1&4)           O Little Town of Bethlehem                           (ST. LOUIS)(Please, from the safety of your home, feel free to sing out with gusto.)

1 O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
the everlasting light;
the hopes and fears of all the years
are met in thee tonight.

4 O holy child of Bethlehem,
descend to us, we pray;
cast out our sin and enter in;
be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us; abide with us,
our Lord Emmanuel!

THE LESSON                       THE GOSPEL of LUKE 2:1-7      Brad Corbitt

Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem, where Mary gives birth to the Messiah

A Reading from the Gospel of Luke…

1 In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 All went to their own towns to be registered 4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called         Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child 6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. …Thanks be to God.   

The Anthem                            “Carol of the Drums”                            Katherine K. Davis

Listen. Listen to the beat A readying, pulsing heartbeat, steady and real: beats, beats across this night.. God’s Advent beat, transforming swords into plowshares, missiles into communion plates, rifles into rocking chairs: Listen! and pick up the beat of God –For God is beating out the rhythm of something new.

THE  LESSON                  THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 2:8-16               Anne Buchner        

Angels appear to the shepherds in the fields and announce the birth of the Messiah

A Reading from the Gospel of Luke…

2:8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news           of great joy for all the people:

11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.

12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”

16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.

…Thanks be to God.

THE CHRISTMAS PRAYER                                                                                 Haley Parry         

          We sing of our joy, dear God,

                   and our gratitude for your gifts to us:

          hope and peace,

                   joy and love,

          and most of all, Christ,

                   light and life for all.

          We thank you and praise you

                   with all of our hearts, our minds,

          the depth of our being. 


 THE OFFERING                                                                                                  Claire Parry

          On this special night let us let us return to God        

                   the offerings of our life and the gifts of the earth.     

          Those who are our guests or did not come prepared         

                   to give an offering this evening are asked to silently

          join with us in offering to God your prayers of thanksgiving

                   for God’s gift of the Messiah.

DEDICATION                                                                                                         James Parry

Our gifts are not capable of being as generous as God’s provisions for us.  Witness how the land has yielded its increase and we have been blessed.  Please make your offering.  We hope it will help bring the light and life of Christ to all who need it now.                                                  

PRAYER OF DEDICATION                                                                             Kristin Parry

          Dear God,
                   We cannot thank you enough
          for the gift of your Son.
                   Through your grace,
          you have given us everything,
                   including our very lives.
          On this night,
                   we celebrate the miracle of Christmas!
          When the candles are blown out,
                   when the ringing of the bells has ceased
          when the angels and shepherds have gone home,
                   may we continue to shine your light into the world
          through the sharing of your gifts.
                   And so we offer you yet another gift:
          our partnership to build your reign of peace, joy, hope and love here on earth.

HYMN #132 (v.1)              Good Christian Friends, Rejoice          (IN DULCI JUBILO)    (Please, from the safety of your home, feel free to sing out with gusto.)

1 Good Christian friends, rejoice
with heart and soul and voice;
give ye heed to what we say:
Jesus Christ is born today;
ox and ass before him bow,
and he is in the manger now.
Christ is born today!
Christ is born today!

THE LESSON                            GENESIS 22:15-18                    Amy and Rylan Erickson

Amy: God promises that, through Abraham all the peoples of the world will be blessed

Amy: A Reading from Genesis

Rylan E. : The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven,

and said,

Amy E. : “By myself I have sworn, says the Lord: Because you have done this,

          and have not withheld your son, your only son,

Amy (continuing)         I will indeed bless you,

                                      and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven

                                      and as the sand that is on the seashore.

                                      And your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies,

Rylan E. :   and by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for

themselves, because you have obeyed my voice. Thanks be to God.”

CAROL #123 (vs. 1&3)           It Came Upon A Midnight Clear                    (CAROL)(Please, from the safety of your home, feel free to sing out with gusto.)

1 It came upon the midnight clear,
that glorious song of old,
from angels bending near the earth,
to touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, good will to all,
from heaven’s all-gracious King”:
the world in solemn stillness lay,
to hear the angels sing

3 Yet with the woes of sin and strife
the world has suffered long;
beneath the heavenly hymn have rolled
two thousand years of wrong;
and we at war on earth hear not
the tidings that they bring;
O, hush the noise and cease the strife
to hear the angels sing!

THE LESSON                                       ISAIAH 9:2, 6, 7                               Marvin Pritts       

The people who walk in darkness receive the promise of the Messiah

A Reading from Isaiah…

Isaiah 9:2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;

          those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined.

6 For a child has been born for us, a son given to us;

          authority rests upon his shoulders;         

          and he is named Wonderful Counselor,

          Mighty God,

          Everlasting Father,

          Prince of Peace.

7 His authority shall grow continually,

          and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom.

          He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness

          from this time onward and forevermore.

          The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

…Thanks be to God.

CAROL                          I Wonder As I Wander                            (I Wonder- Folk Song) (Please, from the safety of your home, feel free to sing out with gusto.)

I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
That Jesus my Savior did come for to die.
For poor on’ry people like you and like I
I wonder as I wander out under the sky. I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
That Jesus my Savior did come for to die.
For poor on’ry people like you and like I…
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.I wonder as I wander out under the sky.

THE LESSON                                  ISAIAH 11:1-4                                            Marvin Pritts

The Messiah will come from the root of Jesse to restore the peace of creation.

A Reading from Isaiah…

11:1 A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,

          and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

2 The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding,

          the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

3 His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see,

          or decide by what his ears hear;

4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,

          and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;

          he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,

          and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.

… Thanks be to God.




CAROL #122                    Silent Night, Holy Night!                            (STILLE NACHT)(Please, from the safety of your home, feel free to sing out with gusto.)

1 Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
’round yon virgin mother and child!
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.

2 Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight;
glories stream from heaven afar,
heavenly hosts sing “Alleluia:
Christ the Savior is born; Christ the Savior is born!”

3 Silent night, holy night!
Son of God, love’s pure light
radiant beams from thy holy face,
with the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

4 Silent night, holy night!
Wondrous star, lend thy light;
with the angels let us sing
Alleluia to our King:
Christ the Savior is born; Christ the Savior is born.


                   The candles have been lit,

                   The carols have been sung,            

          The story has been told –

                   live it, now, every day:

          this hope, this peace,

                   this joy, this love,

          given to the world

                   through Jesus, the Christ,

          God with us, Emmanuel. Amen.

POSTLUDE                                                 Courante                            Johann Sebastian Bach

We are grateful for the gifts of those who bring us the lessons and music of Christmas.  Special thanks to our readers, choirs and soloists, musicians and to all who have contributed to the ancient tradition of telling the good news of the coming of the Messiah.

Cinnamon Done, Sexton

Kristin Parry, Administrator

Joseph Pepper, Music Director & Keyboardist

Daniel J. Russell, Interim Pastor

69 East Main Street, P.O. Box 597, Trumansburg, NY  14886

Web Address:   www.fpcu.info

Email Address:   FPCUlysses@gmail.com

Telephone:   607-387-8185

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