December 5, 2021

2nd Sunday of Advent

Text:   William C. Dix 1837-1898

Music:  English ballad, 16th century – Greensleeves

Sung by Josh Groban

What Child Is This?

What child is this, who, laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping?

Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The babe, the son of Mary!

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christain fear for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you;
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

So bring him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come, peasant, king, to own him.
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone him.
Raise, raise the song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby
Joy, joy for Christ is born
The babe, the Son of Mary!

John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.  What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.


   This text was originally part of a longer Christmas poem called “The Manger Throne”.  It was written by William Dix about 1865. The tune is “Greensleeves” which is an English folk song that goes back to 1580.  Shakespeare even mentioned “Greensleeves” in one of his plays!

My Aunt Ethel got confirmed on Christmas and our family has sung this song every Christmas in honor and memory of her Confirmation.  –Sameea Sajid

I just love this melody, and it reminds me of the Advent/Christmas season every year.               –Gracie Mauer

This carol sounds so sad at the beginning but then goes into this joyous chorus:       

“This, this is Christ the King whom shepherds guard and angels sing.  Haste, haste to bring him laud, the Babe, the Son of Mary” –Rev. Tracy Gingrass


At the beginning of time, O God, you knew my weaknesses and my failures, my lack of trust in you and my imperfect love.  Even so, you had already planned for my salvation and in the birth of your Son, you began the new creation that is mine through Jesus Christ.  May the light of my salvation shine brightly through my words and deeds this season. Amen.


December 6, 2021

2nd Monday of Advent

Text:   German Carol, 15th century

Music:   German tune: 1599 arr. by Michael Praetorious

Sung by Mahalia Jackson

Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

Lo, how a rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung! Of Jesse’s lineage coming as seers of old have sung, It came, a flow’r so bright, amid the cold of winter, when half-spent was the night.

Isaiah had foretold it, the rose I have in mind; with Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.  To show God’s love a-right, she bore to us a Savior, when half-spent was the night.

This flow’r whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air, dispels with glorious splendor the darkness ev’ry-where.  True man, yet very God, from sin and death he saves us and lightens every load.

O Savior, child of Mary, who felt our human woe; O Savior, king of glory, who dost our weakness know; bring us at length, we pray, to the bright courts of heaven and into endless day.


Isaiah 11:1-2

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of  the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.


Even before I had the last name of Rose, I always thought this carol was so beautiful.  Though it is in a major key, its melody is slightly haunting in nature, yet is so simple.  The harmonies move in just the right way, and the text interweaves the old and new testament prophecy in such a beautiful way.  

When I was in High School, in Stoughton, WI – I worked for years to become a member of the Stoughton Madrigal Singers.  This was the ultimate group of singers in that school – the madrigal singers were a group of 16 singers, and we put on a full madrigal dinner every year, complete with cornish game hen served, and figgy pudding (of course we sang the figgy pudding carol as well.)  We had full madrigal costumes, typically made for us.  I finally made it into the group during my senior year of High School, after many audition attempts.  (And lots of tears after those attempts.)  But finally – I was in!  I made it!  And during that year, at the madrigal dinner, one of the pieces we sang was “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming.”  This carol always reminds me of singing with that madrigal group.

I particularly love verse 3.  

“This flow’r, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air; dispels with glorious splendor the darkness ev’ry-where. True man, yet very God, from sin and death he saves us and lightens ev’ry load.” 

And so my friends, may sweetness fill the air where you are, and may the light of Christ dispel the darkness everywhere! –Pastor Jennifer


God of hope and promise, be with us throughout this Advent season and draw us ever closer as we journey together toward the stable and the birth of your Son, our Savior.  Amen.

December 7, 2021

2nd Tuesday of Advent

Text:  Cecil F. Alexander, 1818-1895

Music:  Henry J. Gauntlett, 1805-1876

Sung by Jonathan and Charlotte


Once in Royal David’s City

Once in royal David’s city, stood a lowly cattle shed, where a mother laid her Baby, in a manger for His bed:  Mary was that mother mild Jesus Christ, her little Child.

He came down to earth from heaven, who is God and Lord of all. And His shelter was a stable, and His cradle was a stall:  with the poor and meek and lowly, lived on earth our Savior holy.

And our eyes at last shall see Him, Through His own redeeming love; For that Child so dear and gentle, is our Lord in heaven above:  And He leads His children on, to the place where He is gone.

Not in that poor lowly stable, with the oxen standing by, we shall see him; but in heaven set at God’s right hand on high.  There his children gather round, bright like stars, with glory crowned.


John 1:14

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.


So many  of our hymns and carols tell a whole story through the verses.  This one is no different: it tells us not only of the Savior’s birth but because He IS our Savior, we will see Him face to face at last in heaven, not as a baby but in glory at God’s right hand.

–This is a favorite of Sandra’s


Dear Heavenly Father, help me to greet the birth of your only Son, Jesus Christ, as the King and Lord of my life.  May his humble birth cause a rebirth in my heart and life this season so that I may be filled with your joy, love, and peace.  Amen.

December 8, 2021

2nd Wednesday of Advent

Text:  Traditional Gascon Carol, 16th century, Katherine Parker, sts. 1&2, Carolyn Jennings, sts. 3

Music:  George Wilmot, early 20th century, arr. by Paul Chrstiansen

Sung by The National Lutheran Choir

Wind through the Olive Trees

Wind through the Olive Trees, softly did blow, round little Bethlehem, long, long ago.

Sheep on the hillside lay whiter than snow, shepherds were watching them long, long ago.

Then from the happy skies angels bent low, singing their songs of joy; long, long ago.

For in a manger bed cradled we know, Christ came to Bethlehem long, long ago.

Micah 5:2

But you , O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.


Very little is known about the origin of this song. This simple song is more popular in Europe than in the United States.

This is a piano solo that I learned when I was young…maybe 2nd grade…first year of lessons.  I just have this memory of how much I loved the tune and enjoyed playing it!  I’m sure I sang along as I played it. Many things happened in 2nd grade that I don’t remember, but this “event” is remembered.                                                                                                                            Wind through the Olive Trees, softly did blow, round little Bethlehem, long, long ago.                  –Susan Weiss


Dear Lord Jesus, like the images brought to mind in this simple song, help us to think about Christmas simply, and humbly come before your cradle. Amen.  

December 9, 2021

2nd Thursday of Advent

Text:  attr. John Francis Wade, 1711-1786

Music:  attr. John Francis Wade, 1711-1786

Sung by Pentatonix


Oh Come, All Ye Faithful

Oh, come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant!  Oh, come ye, oh come ye to Bethlehem; Come and behold him, born the king of angels:

REFRAIN:  Oh, come, let us adore him, Oh, come, let us adore him, Oh, come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

The highest, most holy, Light of light eternal, born of a virgin, a mortal he comes; Song of the Father now in flesh appearing!  REFRAIN

Sing, Choirs of angels, sing in exultation, sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!  Glory to God in the highest: REFRAIN

Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning; Jesus, to thee be glory given! Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing!  REFRAIN


Luke 1:30-33, 35

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.  He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.  He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”


In 1750, John Francis Wade is said to have written this hymn in Latin as “Adeste Fidelis”.  He made his living, copying manuscripts in calligraphy, and he slipped his song into a manuscript for English Roman Catholic College in Lisbon, Portugal.

I just LOVE this hymn! –Carol Emmel

This is such a perfect Christmas hymn to begin the Christmas Eve service!!  We may try to “change it up” but how can we beat “Oh come all ye faithful…come ye oh come ye to Bethlehem! …Oh come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!”  (Let me know what you think of the Pentatonix version!)–Carolyn Masterson



Dear Heavenly Father, as I await the celebration of Jesus’ birth, I thank you for the quiet faith of his mother Mary.  What a different story this would have been without her faith! Help me to have even a small amount of faith like hers so that I may celebrate this Advent season with Joy and Love. Amen.


December 10, 2021

2nd Friday of Advent

Text:  English traditional

Music:  English traditional, arr. John Stainer, 1840-1901

Sung by Carrie Underwood

 The First Noel

The first Noel the angel did say was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay: in fields where they lay keeping their sheep on a cold winter’s night that was so deep.  

REFRAIN:  Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel!                 Born is the King of Israel

They looked up and saw a star shining in the east beyond them far; and to the earth it gave great light and so it continued both day and night. REFRAIN

And by the light of that same star three wise men came from the country far; To seek for a King was their intent, and to follow the star wherever it went.  REFRAIN

This star drew nigh to the north-west; o’er Bethlehem it took its rest, and there it did both stop and stay, right over the place where Jesus lay.  REFRAIN

Then entered in those wise men three, full reverently upon their knee, and offered there in His presence their gold and myrrh and frankincense.  REFRAIN

Matthew 1:18-21

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way.  When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.  Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”



There is something so peaceful about this song.  It reminds me of my childhood…this song playing on my parents record player.  Maddy is looking forward to learning this song on the piano this season.                           –Meg Feyen

My second granddaughter’s name is Nola and at Christmastime, she and her sister (middle name Joy) collect things with Noel and Joy in and on them.  –Roberta Thomas

The Refrain rings out as if to say, “News, News, Hear all about it!  The King of Israel is born today!” 


Lord, sometimes we seem to overlook the role you gave to Joseph.  Thank you for that quiet, kind, compassionate man who was Jesus’ earthly Daddy.  Amen.


December 11, 2021

2nd Saturday of Advent

Text:  Noel Regney & Gloria Shayne

Music:  Noel Regney & Gloria Shayne

Sung by:  BCHS Chorus

Do You Hear What I Hear

Said the night wind to the little lamb, “Do you see what I see? Way up in the sky, little lamb?  Do you see what I see? A star, a star, dancing in the night with a tail as big as a kite, with a tail as big as a kite.”

Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy, “Do you hear what I hear?  Ringing through the sky shepherd boy? Do you hear what I hear? A song, a song, high above the trees, with a voice as big as the sea, with a voice as big as the sea.”

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king, “Do you know what I know? In your palace warm, mighty king?  Do you know what I know? A Child, a Child shivers in the cold, let us bring Him silver and gold, let us bring Him silver and gold.”

Said the king to the people everywhere, “Listen to what I say.  Pray for peace, people everywhere! Listen to what I say. The Child, the Child, sleeping in the night He will bring us goodness and light, He will bring us goodness and light!”


Isaiah 9:2

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness, on them light has shined.



Noel Regney wrote the words and Gloria Shayne wrote the music in October, 1962.  They were married at the time and wrote it as a plea for peace during the Cuban missile crisis.  It was first recorded by the Harry Simeone Chorale and sold more than a quarter-million copies during the 1962 holiday season.

I was almost a teenager when I first heard this song.  Each verse creates such a wonderfully vivid picture for the listener and I remember getting teary as the song grew in volume in intensity towards the “pray for peace” verse.  Still feel that way. Interesting how the words have just as much meaning as they did back then. –Carolyn Masterson


Dear God, as we listen to and sing Christmas songs and carols this season, help us remember your promise that you would send us a light, your Son Jesus, to bring us goodness and light into our lives.  Help us also to bring Christ’s light, peace and goodness into the lives of others. Amen.