Sunday December 20th at Wesley Chapel

On Sunday December 20th our minister Rev. Trevor Dixon led worship at Wesley Chapel. We had a service of 9 lessons and carols, in which most of us took part. The final candle was lit for the 4th Sunday in Advent. Trevor welcomed us and led the opening prayers, before we sang, ‘Once in royal David’s city’; the first verse was sung as a solo by a member of the Christmas choir. Normally we do not have enough members to form a choir, but extra friends and family members join together to form a Christmas choir for the service. The first lesson was ‘The Fall’ – Genesis 3.8-14. We sang ‘Let earth and heaven combine’ before we heard the second lesson, ‘The promise to Abraham’ – Genesis 22.15-18. We sang ‘Joy to the world’ before the third lesson, ‘The prophecy of the Messiah’s birth’ – Isaiah 9.2,6,7. A trio from the ladies’ choir sang, ‘Christmas lullaby by John Rutter with angelic voices before the fourth lesson ‘The prophecy of the Messiah’s kingdom of peace – Isaiah 11.1-9. We sang ‘It came upon a midnight clear’ before the fifth lesson ‘The Annunciation to Mary’ – Luke 1.26-38, which I read.
We sang, ‘Silent night, holy night’ before the sixth lesson ‘The birth of Jesus’ – Luke 2.1-7. The choir sang, ‘When a young unmarried couple’ from our new Singing the Faith hymn book and the words and music sounded very good. We sang, ‘Away in a manger’ before the choir sang, ‘The Nativity carol’. The seventh lesson was ‘The Shepherds go to the manger’ – Luke 2.8-16. Christine and Jenny who always used to sing in the choir sang the duet, ‘So gentle the donkey,’ beautifully. The eighth lesson was ‘The Magi are led by a star to Jesus’ – Matthew 2.1-11 before we sang, ‘As with gladness’.
Our minister Trevor had prepared a dramatised reading called, ‘Jesus Christmas party’ for which he asked for volunteers. It was Nicholas Allan’s version of the Christmas story, in which the innkeeper seems to be Bethlehem’s Basil Fawlty. Trevor played the innkeeper and the narrator and we came out as shepherds and the kings. The innkeeper offered a stable round the back when Joseph came with Mary in need of shelter and provided them with 2 blankets. A little later the innkeeper was disturbed by Joseph asking for a small blanket. He went up to bed and was very annoyed when he was awoken by a bright light, so he drew the curtains and went back to bed. He was awakened by another knock; this time it was shepherds who had come to see Mary and Joseph, so he shouted that they were ROUND THE BACK and went back to bed! Then there was another knock, this time 3 kings and once again he shouted ROUND THE BACK! He attempted to go back to sleep but was woken by a chorus of singing which was the final straw. He got out of bed, stomped downstairs, threw open the door and was about to speak, when the rest of the cast said, ’Ssshh, you’ll wake the baby’! The innkeeper looked puzzled, ‘BABY?’ When the cast confirmed the birth of a baby the innkeeper’s anger seemed to evaporate as he said, ‘Oh, isn’t he lovely!’ He then woke up all the guests to see the baby! It was an amusing drama which for me made the point of Christmas in the wonder of the newborn baby!’
Trevor read the final lesson, ‘The Incarnation of the Word of God’ – John 1.1-14, before the prayers of intercession and the reading of the poem – What the donkey saw by U.A. Fanthorpe. Worship concluded after we sang, ‘O come all ye faithful’ and Trevor gave the blessing. It was a moving service enriched by the choir’s participation and the involvement of many of the congregation.

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