220px-CandleWhat follows is this year’s poem that I composed for our 5:30 Service of Lessons and Carols. See if you can count the hymn references.

Gather one and gather all!

To fill the room and deck the halls!

Its that certain time of year

For what we wished all Advent to hear!

So light the candles, string the harp

Tune the pipes, it’s time to start!

Let people gather, let praises ring

Lift up your voice, it’s time to sing

songs of grace throughout the earth

to praise the infant Savior’s birth!

What child is this, with friendly beasts?

There’s a song in the air, all people look east!

The hope of captive Israel

O come, O come Emmanuel!

Who comes to end sin, death, and hate

So lift your heads, ye mighty gates!

Our God enfleshed! Our God comes near!

So sing upon this midnight clear!

Hail to great David’s greater son,

O come thou long-expected one

to render dreams from our mere wants.

Il est ne le divin enfant.

The silent night, the starry sky

The angels we have heard on high!

Bring praise from every living thing,

As hark! The herald angels sing

of one through whom God makes us well!

A bleak midwinter’s first noel!

Come all ye faithful, all women and men!

To this little town of Bethlehem

To witness perfect love’s own story

With angels from the realms of glory

Who shone round about his sacred head

That lay in a manger, no crib for a bed.

So sing to the one, God’s own son begotten.

Sing for the lost, the last, and forgotten.

Sing for God’s people, the less and the more.

Sing for the rich and sing for the poor.

Sing for the grieving who feel so alone.

Sing for all people, Christ calls us his own.

Sing songs for the faithful on this Christmas Eve.

Sing faith into hearts that cannot believe.

Sing songs of grace for those who are blessed.

Sing justice and freedom for all the oppressed.

Sing light into darkest corners of Earth.

Sing of hope and of grace in our Savior’s birth.

So come all God’s people, the young and the old.

Exit the darkness, the wind, and the cold.

To unite our voices, it’s time to begin.

So strike up the organ, the horn, and violin.

And may all our singing proclaim our Lord’s birth,

Resounding through heaven and filling the Earth.

All praise be to God for all that’s begun!

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!