Service - Resources

Carol Service - 20-December-2015


I wrote a number of reflections and chants for the carol service this year.

They will, almost certainly, never be used again so I add them here. If you stumble upon them and want to use any of them, either as is or altered, please feel free.

A quick email to me saying you have used them would be nice but is not essential! chrishancock(at)

I have added the Bible passages, in the versions, we used. Copyright Notices are at the end of the service. Hymns, with the exception of Rise up Shepherd and Follow, are from Singing the Faith. (An internet search will bring up the words for "Rise up Shepherd" if you would like to see them).

Links to pdf sheets of the "chant" music are also available at the bottom of the page.

I have also added a few words on the inspiration and source of the images and words which I hope will also add to the content.


Our Worship Together

We start with the church in darkness. The Communion table is bare except for a black cloth and with the large star behind it but not switched on.

A short video draws us from the depth of created space, in onto the earth, on to Israel and then to the stable.

Chant One - We wait

We wait on the Lord,
for we know that he is coming.
We wait on the Lord,
as we gather in this place.

Reader 1 - In the beginning there was God.

Reader 2 - Take a moment to reflect on the absence of everything except God. Draw yourself into his presence.

... Pause ...

We seek to explain, to rationalise, to deny the creative power of God.
The story is a story, possibly, probably, certainly, maybe?

In truth, a way of humanity grasping the magnitude and awesome power of God.

Do not be distracted from the Creator.
Time is an artificial measure do not be constrained by it.
Evolution is what God is about.
Know that in the beginning there was God.

... Pause ...

Know that, in the beginning the Word was with God.

... Pause ...

A gold cloth is placed over the black on the communion table.

Reader 1 - John Chapter One Verses 1 - 5 (NIV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it

The star is lit behind the communion table

Reader 1 - John Chapter One Verses 9 - 14 and 16 - 18 (NIV)

Angel Image

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.

He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

Hymn 1 - Singing the Faith 173 - Into the Darkness of this World

Chant Two - A Prophet Spoke

During the singing of this chant the candles are lit in the church including the Advent Ring.

Angel Image

Into the darkness of the world
A prophet spoke
Into the need of the world
A prophet spoke


He is wonderful - Jesus is his name (Sung Leader - Response by All)
He is counsellor - Jesus is his name
He is mighty God - Jesus is his name
He is Prince of Peace - Jesus is his name

Angel Image

Into the fear of the world
A prophet spoke
Into the pain of the world
A prophet spoke


Candles Image

Into a world of broken hearts
A prophet spoke
Into a shattered war torn world
A prophet spoke


Angel Image

Into the darkness of the world
A prophet spoke
Into the need of the world
A prophet spoke

As the chant is sung Reader 3 places the stable on the communion table.

Reader 3 - Isaiah Chapter 9 Verses 2 - 7 (NIV)

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.

For as in the day of Midian's defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.

Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.

The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Hymn 2 - Singing the Faith 178 - Long Ago Prophets Knew.

Chant Three - Let it be to me.

Let it be to me according to your word
Let it be to me according to your word
I am your servant, I offer all I am
I am your servant, I offer all I am
Let it be to me according to your word

During the singing an Angel is added to the Communion table.

Reader 4 - Luke Chapter 1 Verses 26 - 38 (NIV)

Angel Image

In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David.

The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you."

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.

But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.

He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob's descendants forever; his kingdom will never end."

"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"

The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.

So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail."

"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May your word to me be fulfilled."

Then the angel left her.

Hymn 1 - Singing the Faith 187 - The Angel Gabriel From Heaven Came

Reader 5 - Mary and the Angel

Angel Image

I often wonder about Mary and her visit from an Angel.
Did he come as a man? So as not to scare!

As a light? In a blaze of heavenly glory.
In the fire? As God appeared to Moses in the bush.
As a drop of water? Into the calmness of the bowl.

Were the words he spoke audible? visible? visceral?
Were they heard loud and clear or as whispers in her ear?

I often wonder about Mary and her visit from an Angel.
Calm and quiet. In the presence of an angel.

Surprised perhaps but not afraid.
Prepared to listen, hear, obey.

Ready to follow where God called her.
Change her life in every way.

Would I do the same? If he called me today.

Would you do the same? If he called you today.

Reader 6 - Luke Chapter 2 Verses 1 - 7 (NRSV)

The figures of Mary, Joseph and Jesus are added to the communion table.

The Birth of Jesus.

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.

This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.

All went to their own towns to be registered. 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.

He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.

While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.

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

Reader 7 - And She Gave Birth

And she gave birth.
Such simple words for the arrival of God as man
Such simple words for the exertion and the pain of birth

And she gave birth
No mention of the sweat and blood involved
No mention of the anxious wait for those who were there

And she gave birth
Not in a comfortable, familiar bed
Not in her home but in a borrowed place

And she gave birth
The Word has come
The Word made flesh in our world

And she gave birth
Born through pain
Jesus - who would experience pain

Born through sweat and blood
Jesus - who would sweat and bleed

Born in a borrowed place
Jesus - who would borrow a tomb

And she gave birth
Born to be with us
He will return to us
Rejoice, Rejoice, Rejoice
Our Saviour is born!

Hymn 4 - Singing the Faith 214 - Once in Royal David's City

Chant Four - We are Watching.

We are watching in the dark of night.
Watching with the shepherds.
We are waiting for the coming light.
Watching with the shepherds.

The figures of the Shepherds are added to the communion table.

Reader 8 - Luke Chapter 2 Verse 8 (NRSV)

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

Reader 9 - Watching, Waiting, Protecting.

Sheep Fingerprint Image

We are simple shepherds
At night up in the hills
Watching over all our flock of sheep

Watching, waiting, protecting

We are counting out our flock of sheep
Trying hard - not to fall asleep
Even though we're counting sheep

We are watching in the dark of night
Ready for lions or other beasts
Not expecting much to do

Watching waiting protecting

We are counting out our flock of sheep
Trying hard - not to fall asleep
Even though we're counting sheep

Each sheep we have, a special one
Even one too much to lose
So we keep ourselves alert

Watching waiting protecting

We were counting out our flock of sheep
Trying hard - not to fall asleep
Even though we're counting sheep

Then in the distance: a shining light
Drawing nearer and nearer to us
Fearful, worried, really scared

Watching, waiting, protecting

Reader 8 - Luke Chapter 2 v 9 - 20 (NRSV)

Angel Image

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

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

This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favours!"

Shepherds Image

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."

So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.

But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Hymn 5 - Rise up Shepherd and Follow

Chant Five - We are Travelling.

We are travelling from distant lands
Journeying on a star lit path
It leads us and we follow
It leads us and we follow

The figures of the Wisemen are added to the communion table.

Song - Wiseman Rap

I was sitting in my astral dome,
wasting time just getting stuff done
Looking up with my tired eyes,
nothing much changes in our night sky
Stars and planets come and go
how they do that I try to know
I'm an expert in a field of three
that's all of us, one, two three

What's this I see through my looking glass
a new star hanging high above us
It's come from nowhere never seen before
hey how mad is that its' mad for sure
Must mean something I better get down
with all the other wise ones in this town
We are experts in a field of three
that's all of us, one, two, three

Well what on earth does it show
it all seems to make some sense if you know
We talked and we talked for a pretty long time
all through the possible meaning of the sign
Seems a king's been announced loud and clear
in silence by light but it doesn't seem near
We are experts in a field of three
that's all of us, one, two, three

Seems to us a super special sign
sent straight to us it's a thing divine
Better take notice and get ready to go
to see the king whose star now glows
A king. He must be a king of kings
to merit a star so bright what a thing
We are experts in a field of three
that's all of us, one two three

Better pack our bags and get the train
camels of course shouldn't need to explain
Going Westward following the star
to find the place, hope it's not too far
Months and months ahead of us
weary feet tramping sand and dust
We are experts in a field of three
that's all of us one two three

We are still on our journey but were getting pretty near
the palace in Jerusalem seem pretty clear
We'll go straight there and ask if we can see
the king we have come to see we three
Should be pretty simple we'll walk right in
ask for directions and be show to the king!
We are experts in a field of three
that's all of us one two three

Reader 10 - Matthew Chapter 2 Verses 1 - 12 (NIV)

The Magi Visit the Messiah

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him."

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:

"'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.'"

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Hymn 5 - Singing the Faith 230 - Riding out across the desert

Angel Image


Hymn 6 - Singing the Faith 202 - Hark the Herald Angels Sing


Hymn 7 Singing the Faith 212 - O Come All Ye Faithful


Please click on the links below if you would like the sheet music for the chants.

1. We wait on the Lord.

2. Into the darkness of the world.

3. Let it be to me.

4. We are watching in the dark of night.

5. We are travelling from a distant land.


THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION©, NIV© Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.© Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Chants, Reflections and "Rap" were all written by Chris and are available for all.

The Chants were written on the train on the way to work, over a period of a week, about five years ago and have been straining to get out of my notebook ever since.

The rap was inspired by Joseph, one of the lads at church. Who was listening to rap on his phone after a service in October! I thank him for his graciousness and enthiusiasm in being prepared to lead us in this different style of music during our service and despite my less than perfect drum accompaniment!

Words from a middle aged, caucasian, male so not perhaps as "raw" as they should be!!

The Images used were drawn by Chris and inspired by....

The Angel

came from a period of reflection at the Circuit Quiet Day. I had in my mind "In what form did the Angel appear to Mary?"

We traditionally portray the angel as a man perhaps with snowy white, flowing feathered wings. I had in my mind a shaft of light revealing God or a presence like the presence of God in the burning bush before Moses. Was there a visible presence or was it rather a word spoken into the mind and soul of Mary?

I drew what I felt - a blazing presence of God's messenger. Bright, overpowering and yet gentle and re-assuring.

The picture, the thoughts and images which inspired it led to the writing of the reflection "Mary and the Angel".

The Shepherds and Sheep

came, again, from the Circuit Quiet Day. I had been planning to have the congregation place their thumb and finger prints on a large piece of paper and turn them into the sheep and shepherds.

"Fear" and practical considerations intervened and I, instead, produced the various sheep and shepherds from my own finger and thumb prints.

The thoughts I had were about how we often think of ourselves as "the sheep" and Jesus as the Shepherd but we are also clearly called to be shepherds.

The fingerprints are unique, as each of us are and each of our roles in God's purpose is also unique.

These thoughts together with the parable of the lost sheep and some thoughts of the tedium of watching through the night whilst having to be awake and aware of danger led to the writing of the "Watching, Waiting, Protecting" reflection. The repeated refrain, I hope, emphasises the tedium along with the need to remain vigilant.

The Nativity Scene

We have for the last two years, to scripts I have written, had a "pop-up" nativity at the Journey Light Christmas gathering (The "worship" element of the De Haviland Project). The adults present dressing up as the nativity characters and formed the stable tableau. This has been absolutely fantastic and I was all but prepared to do the same at our Carol Service.

When it came to it, I chickened out thinking that regular church goers would not participate as fully as those at the Journey Light gathering who do not attend "regular" church worship!!.

To replace the human tableau, I used one of my sets of carved Nativity figures. Building up the scene during the course of the service.

The Nativity figures are a set I have had for a long time. They are from Kenya and in my opinion, a beautiful representation of the Nativity.

As my family will tell you, I have a lot of nativity figures and these are, by a long way, my absolute favourites!