Advent Hymn

I’m excited to add this song to our services this Advent.  True to its title, it speaks beautifully of the past, present, and future of our worship in Advent.  Advent means “coming.” It’s that special time of the year when we remember Christ’s first coming into the world and look forward to the time when He will come again.  We also praise and worship God for His Advent in our hearts now.

Here’s the original recording by Christy Nockels

Advent Hymn
Christ, whose glory fills the skies,
Christ, the everlasting Light,
The Sun of Righteousness arise,
And triumph o’er these shades of night.

Come, Thou long-awaited One,
In the fullness of Your love,
And loose this heart bound up by shame,
And I will never be the same.

So, here I wait in hope of You,
All my soul’s longing through and through.
Dayspring from on high, be near,
And Daystar in my heart appear.

Dark and cheerless is the morn,
Until Your love in me is born.
And joyless is the evening song,
Until Emmanuel has come.

Lyrics adapted from “Morning Hymn” by Charles Wesley; New Words and Music by Christy Nockels;
© copyright 2016 Sweater Weather Music;  CCLI #2850991

We will probably “straighten out” the rhythms like this video to make it easier for the congregation.


Carol of Joy

I thought I would kick off December by sharing a Christmas song and what better way than with this lovely choral piece. I think it’s musically too complex for congregational singing but it is gorgeous and the words communicate so clearly that Jesus came to break the curse of sin and redeem a fallen world. The first two verses tell of his incarnation. The third verse calls to those without Christ, those “lonely, laden, forlorn” now. He can be your Savior now.

Carol of Joy
Green leaves all fallen, withered and dry;
brief sunset fading, dim winter sky;
lengthening shadows, dark closing in;
then through the stillness, carols begin.
O fallen world, to you is the song!
Death holds you fast, and night tarries long.
Jesus is born, your curse to destroy;
sweet to your ears, a carol of joy!

Pale moon ascending, solemn and slow;
cold, barren hillside shrouded in show.
Deep, empty valley, veiled by the night;
hear angel music, hopeful and bright.
O fearful world, to you is the song!
Peace with your God, and pardon for wrong.
Tidings for sinners, burdened and bound;
carol of joy, a Savior is found!

Earth wrapped in sorrow, lift up your eyes!
Thrill to the chorus filling the skies,
Look up, sadhearted! Witness God’s love;
join in the carol swelling above!
O friendless world, to you is the song!
All heaven’s joy to you may belong!
You who are lonely, laden, forlorn;
Now unto you, a Savior is born.

(c) 2007 Eileen Berry, Dan Forrest

Christmas Eve at Home 2015


Our church’s Christmas Candlelight Service was on Sunday so we’ll be having our own candlelight time at home tonight. Here’s what we’ll be doing:

Light all five of our Advent candles.

Sing “O Come All Ye Faithful”

Read Luke 2:1-20

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.  This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.  So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, 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,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.  And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.  Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Spend time praying, being thankful for God’s love for us, and for being Emmanuel – God with us.

Sing “Silent Night.” Here’s a simple, intimate version from Amy Grant:

Silent Night
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.

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!

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.

Text: Joseph Mohr; tr. John F Young; Music: Franz Gruber; Public Domain

Here‘s last year’s Christmas Eve post if you missed Sunday’s service or would like to spend more time reading and singing.


Worship at Calvary: December 6



This is our order of worship from the 2nd Sunday of Advent, December 6, 2015 at Calvary Community Church:  

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)

O Come, Messiah, Come

See Amid the Winter’s Snow

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

From the Squalor (Immanuel)

Teaching from Micah 5:1-5a

O Little Town of Bethlehem

I publish our song lists every week to help us reflect on our worship together. Join us next Sunday, December 13th at 10:00 a.m. to sing together, pray, and hear from God’s Word! 

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree

This is one of my favorite less familiar carols. It might seem strange to compare Jesus to an apple tree but the themes of this hymn are so true. The world’s pleasures will cost you dearly and won’t last. We will only find our satisfaction and rest in Jesus Christ. He feeds our faith.

The tree of life my soul hath seen
Laden with fruit and always green
The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the apple tree

His beauty doth all things excel
By faith I know but ne’er can tell
The glory which I now can see
In Jesus Christ the apple tree

For happiness I long have sought
And pleasure dearly I have bought
I missed of all but now I see
‘Tis found in Christ the apple tree

I’m weary with my former toil
Here I will sit and rest awhile
Under the shadow I will be
Of Jesus Christ the apple tree

This fruit doth make my soul to thrive
It keeps my dying faith alive
Which makes my soul in haste to be
With Jesus Christ the apple tree

The text first appeared in hymnals in the late 1700’s but the author is unknown. The tune in the video above is by Elizabeth Poston (1905-1987).

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.  And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Revelation 22:1-5