“A Carol Sing”

John Updike wrote a short story entitled, “The Carol Sing,” published in Museums and Women (1972). It’s about an annual caroling event at the town hall in Updike’s fictional Massachusetts village of Tarbox. 

“Why do we come for the caroling? Updike asks—“come every year sure as the solstice to carol these antiquities that if you listened to the words would break your heart. Silence, darkness, Jesus, angels. Better, I suppose, to sing than to listen.”

Today, we come together, on Sunday morning, because we believe that by coming together we can lift each other up in worshiping our God in heaven. Somehow, by coming together we feel we can be strengthened as we combine our fragile hopes with others. 

By raising our voices, together we manage to redirect the uncertainty and gloom, even if just for a while. 

Carols have a subtle way of 

diagnosing the human condition and 

can often offer a cure. 

Today, if we were to visit the town of Jesus’ birth we would see that it has been destroyed. The “Holy Family Cave” which many traditionally believe is where Jesus was born is in rubble. According to Reverend Munther Isaac, “If Christ were to be born today he would be born under the rubble and Israeli shelling.” 

Our first hymn, “O Little Town of Bethlehem” has a claim for “peace to men on earth.” Today there is a gap between “the hopes and fears of all the years, being met in thee tonight.” presented in this song, and our reality of war.

Chris Tomlin – O Little Town Of Bethlehem (Live)

Children’s Moment – New Year’s Resolutions

Did you catch the phrase, “Yet in the dark streets shineth, The everlasting light?” Looking at those around us, we are reminded that the darkness, however dark, can’t put out the light. God’s light shines through people, like us. There is always a God-given possibility, that, behind an apparent hopeless situation, God has placed His children around the world. We can rest assured that unseen and unexpected goodness in the world goes on. “The hopes and fears of all the years 

are met in Thee.” 

Mary C. Caldwell writes, 

“Who shall come in the fullness of time to

Gladden the hearts of humans?

Who shall bring new joy to the world

And the poor and lonely defend?

Who shall come on a cold winter’s night,

When the world is hushed and still?

Only the silent stars keep watch as a 

Promise is fulfilled. 

Just as a Child newly born He shall come

to a stable rough with sod.

‘Tis gentle Jesus, Prince of Peace, the 

blessed Son of God!

                                  -Taken from “Who Shall Come” by Mary E. Caldwell

Chris Tomlin – O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Lyric Video)


Offertory Prayer


For those of us who believe, we look forward to a new year and recognize that all that remains for us is 

to do what we can, 

in big and small ways, 

to serve those around us and 

lend a helping hand. 

Actually, you don’t even have to be religious to do that, but what we bring as believers is the hope that God is also doing His part. Often our small gestures seem dwarfed by the size of the need. But, then again, so does sending a baby to do God’s work. 

Hymn # 164 v. 1,2,4              “One Small Child”

One Small Child

Congregational Joys and Concerns

  Congregational Prayer/Lord’s Prayer

Gloria Patri #623

Tomorrow starts a new year. 

Time to check in, 

number one question – 

How is your relationship with God? 

Like any relationship, 

What needs to be done to keep it growing? 

Whatever that is for you – resolve to do it. 

Second, let me encourage you, 

regardless of what we hear in the news or 

read in the paper, we serve a God who provides hope. 

There is always a God-given possibility, that, behind an apparent hopeless situation, God has placed His children around the world.

Paul wrote this to the church in Rome, Romans 15:4

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”

May we keep reading the Scriptures, understand and walk with the endurance taught in them and not only be encouraged ourselves but share that encouragement with those around us. 

Hymn # 52 v. 1,2,3,6   “O God, Our Help in Ages Past”

O GOD OUR HELP IN AGES PAST (With Lyrics) : Don Moen


Romans 15:13

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”