Christmas 2

Jeremiah 31:7-14

Psalm 147:12-20

Ephesians 1:3-14

John 1:(1-9), 10-18


This post is looking at the readings for the Second Sunday of Christmas. If you are following these readings then it is also still appropriate to sing carols. Some congregations will use the readings for Epiphany on this day and you can find a separate blog post here with song suggestions for those readings.


You can find a YouTube playlist here with many of the songs suggested below.



Gathering


The Old Testament reading today speaks of God gathering people from across the earth while we are instructed to “Sing aloud with gladness...raise shouts...proclaim, give praise”. Gather us in (CH 623) would be a great opening song to reflect this, with the references to light and darkness also very appropriate. Come and hear the joyful singing (Jubilate) is set to the same tune as “Deck the Halls” so would give a seasonal feel. If you wanted to pick up on the reference to dancing then O come and join the dance (MP 489) could make things really celebratory. Lift up your eyes (Resound) was written as an Advent song but could fit today as we focus more on the meaning of Christmas than the story itself. You could also use a more general gathering song of praise such as Here I Am To Worship (MP 1086 / CCLI) or How great is our God (MP 1227 / CCLI) which both tie in with the theme of light coming into the world we find in the Gospel.


For a more seasonal song then you could consider traditional carols such as Brightest and best of the sons of the morning (CH 327), From east to west, from shore to shore (Hymnary), A great and mighty wonder (Hymnary) or more contemporary options such as Joy has dawned upon the world (MP 1319 / Getty) or The King has come (CCLI).



Word


Most settings of Psalm 147 (including the one in CH4) focus on the first verses but you could either use With songs and honours sounding loud (Grace) or the appropriate verses from the setting in the Scottish Psalter, The Lord praise, O Jerusalem (Hymnquest) sung to the tune Dunfermline. It may be easier to sing this responsorially and you could either use the chorus of Sing to God with joy (WGRG) or an upbeat Alleluia (CH 751 / CH 753 / CH 767).



Response


You may have already used the Gospel reading on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day but if you are using it again there is perhaps more opportunity for creative musical responses on a regular Sunday. Two songs directly inspired by this text are In the beginning (Resound) which picks up on some of the repetitive structure of the original, and Before the world began (CH 317) which is a more reflective song which could be sung congregationally or by a choir or soloist. Other songs you might consider are O little love, who comes again (CH 329), Love came down at Christmas (CH 316) and We worship a wonderful Saviour (Resound).


The Ephesians text has an almost credal feel and you could use songs with a similar feel such as This I Believe (The Creed) (CCLI) and By faith (CCLI / Getty). There are also good possibilities with songs which respond in some way to the truths of the Gospel which are outlined in this text such as Christ was raised (Resound), Here, O Lord, your servants gather (link), Give thanks with a grateful heart (CH 180), and Loving Creator (CH 116).



Sending


At the end of the Christmas season you could finish with something which has resonances with the readings and the season but looks forward to the rest of the Christian year such as I cannot tell why he, whom angels worship (MP 266 / Jubilate) or King of Kings (CCLI). Christ, of God unseen the image (CH 453) could also do this in a less explicit way while What a beautiful name (CCLI) can link to the reading from John, “the Word at the beginning”. You could also use a more general song of praise such as God whose almighty word (CH 112) or God, we praise you. God, we bless you (CH 120) which puts Christmas into a broader theological context.


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