Sunday December 19th 2021

Introit:  Up good Christen Folk and listen

A warm welcome to worship this morning for a service of Lessons and Carols.  You will find the intimations at the end of the service.

Hymn 315 Once in Royal David’s city

Prayer of Approach and Confession (Gwen)

Almighty God, our Heavenly Father,

We come before you now with praises in our hearts and on our lips as we take time out from our busy preparations for celebrating your birth in just a short while. All the tinsel and glitter would mean nothing if you are not part of our lives. As we prepare to celebrate we have also been thinking about the meaning of your coming to our world; to your people, and how we can follow your example by how you accepted everyone as they are. You accepted the poor and made them rich with the knowledge of your love and acceptance. You welcomed the imperfect and made them whole so in rejoicing their miracles they spread your word and brought others to know you as their Lord and ours.

By your Holy Spirit you keep us right, so that by our example we show your face to all we meet and do what you would do.

But we know there is one stronger than we are who tries to de-rail our efforts to follow you and so many times we fail to stay on the right track. We fail you and we fail our brothers and sisters and for this we are sorry. Forgive our selfishness and forgive our preoccupation with our secular life. Help us to turn our eyes heavenward to see you and your goodness; to know your heart and your love for us then to look round about to see as you see and to go and do to others as you have done.

And together we pray the prayer you taught saying - - - -

Our Father,

Reading:  Isaiah 9:2,6,7 

The people walking in darkness

    have seen a great light;

on those living in the land of deep darkness

    a light has dawned.

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.

7 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 320 Joy to the world


Reading:  Micah 5:2-5a


But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,

    though you are small among the clans[a] of Judah,

out of you will come for me

    one who will be ruler over Israel,

whose origins are from of old,

    from ancient times.”


3 Therefore Israel will be abandoned

    until the time when she who is in labour bears a son,

and the rest of his brothers return

    to join the Israelites.


4 He will stand and shepherd his flock

    in the strength of the Lord,

    in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.

And they will live securely, for then his greatness

    will reach to the ends of the earth.


5 And he will be our peace.


Hymn 304: O little town of Bethlehem

 Reading:  Luke 1:26-38 

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 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, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 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[a] the Son of God. 36 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. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Hymn 285: The angel Gabriel from heaven came

Reading: Luke 1:46-55                                                             

And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord

47  and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,

48 for he has been mindful

    of the humble state of his servant.

From now on all generations will call me blessed,

49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—

    holy is his name.

50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,

    from generation to generation.

51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;

    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones

    but has lifted up the humble.

53 He has filled the hungry with good things

    but has sent the rich away empty.

54 He has helped his servant Israel,

    remembering to be merciful

55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,

    just as he promised our ancestors.”


Anthem:  Infant Holy, infant lowly


Reading: Luke 2:1-20 


In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.


4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.


8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to 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. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”


13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,


14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,

    and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”


15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”


16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.


Hymn 310: See him lying on a bed of straw


Reading:  Matthew 2:1-12


1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 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.”


3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 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. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:


6 “‘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.’”


7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 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.”


9 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. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 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. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.


Hymn 331 Unto us is born a Son


Reading: John 1:1-14


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.


6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.


9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.


14 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.


Hymn 301 Hark the herald angels sing


Prayer of Intercession


Lord God we have come together and remembered the timeless story of your entry into this world,

so now we pray for that world, a world that doesn’t seem so very different from the world into which Your prophets spoke, 

As we prepare to welcome Your Son to a world still in need of all that You bring –  food for the hungry,

clothing for the naked,

justice for the oppressed, 

healing for those who are hurting,

peace for those caught up in war

–God, we hold on to hope and even to joy for those are Your promises to us.


We hold on to hope and joy, not because we don’t live in the real world,  not because we do not care, or because we, too, aren’t hurt or worried,  but because we know Your promises to be true. 


We know that You call us to be patient, not passively patient,  but actively patient, making a difference where we can, knowing that You can multiply all that we do.


We hold on to hope and to joy because there are signs of Your kingdom breaking through. 


There are signs of the thirsty being given clean water.  

There are signs of beauty breaking out in brokenness, of streams in the desert.   And it is to those signs that You call us, in the midst of darkness,  to look, to find hope, to rejoice.


Lord God, there is so much in today’s world that conspires against hope, so much to rob us of joy, especially just now with the rise in the omicron variant of Covid, hanging like a big dark cloud over our Christmas preparations.

Yet You call us to persist,  to persist in doing good and to persist in looking for the good that is all around.


Open our eyes, Lord God, open our hands, open our hearts to love and serve You, rejoicing in every opportunity and in every transformation You accomplish through us and in us.


And now we pray for those close to us who are on our hearts and minds at this time.

And we name them before you now in the silence….

Hear these and all our prayers for they are offered in the name of Christ our Lord, Amen


Hymn 313 See in yonder manger low




May hope, peace, love and joy be yours this Christmas time,

And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with you all, this day and forevermore, Amen


Closing voluntary:  John Rutter Star Carol







Tarff and Twynholm


Sadly, because of the rise in the number of Covid cases, it was felt prudent to cancel the refreshments planned for after the service today.


Also, for the same reason, the in-person Kirk Session meeting on 22nd December has been cancelled.


Christmas Services


Christmas morning.   There is no service in Tarff and Twynholm Church but the joint Christmas Morning Service will be held in Gatehouse Church at 10.00am. There will be a retiring offering for CHAS (Children’s Hospice Appeal Scotland)  Everyone welcome


Boxing Day 26th December. There will be no service in Gatehouse Church but the congregation is invited to join Tarff and Twynholm in Twynholm church at their usual time of 11.30am.


The Kirkcudbright Choral Concert scheduled for this evening, has been cancelled, due to Covid restrictions.