For those of you who are into cantatas, Zion Ev. & Reformed Church recently presented their 51st annual cantata, “Sounds of Christmas.” Perhaps the following may be of interest for any looking for structuring their own cantata presentation.
It seems like the Christmas season gets busier every year! More presents to buy, cookies to bake, decorations to be hung… in all the hustle and bustle, there is no time to wait – Christmas is coming! Where did the time go?! When we were children, Christmas couldn’t come fast enough; we couldn’t wait for it! So what has changed? What are we waiting for now?
We are all waiting… some are waiting for Christmas, some are waiting for their families to be healed; others are waiting for their health to be restored. We are all waiting for that angelic promise so long ago: “peace on earth, good will toward men.” But how long must we wait? And Who are we waiting for?
When Emmanuel Has Come
Emmanuel has come, and we will never be the same. So how did this King come to earth? When Heaven was opened, what glorious procession did Emmanuel take to display His regal majesty? All the heavenly host of God’s angels held their breath as they awaited the sudden appearance of the King of Glory.
But what’s this? Where are the heavenly trumpets, sounding forth their royal fanfare? Where are the angelic voices shouting as a roar of the ocean, that the King is coming? It is a silent night, with only the blue-white of stars twinkling over a quiet village in Israel. Here there is no shining palace, no golden throne; only a solitary man and pregnant wife who are plodding their way to a small dusty inn and cramped stable.
A Simple Stable
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord… you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
O, Tiny Babe of Bethlehem
And so, the Babe was born. In the quiet of that holy night, salvation was created. And all was still on earth.
High above that lowly manger, the heavens were not quiet. Though the earth lay wrapped in silence, all of Heaven was exploding for joy in the birth of the King. The heavens were telling the glory of God, and galaxies were spinning in their celestial orbits to the praise of the newborn King. Comets and meteors, stars and nebulae reverberated with angelic praise. But one star, one special, little star, was given an extraordinary assignment. As the starry hosts gave glory to God, this little star cast its heavenly light on little Bethlehem, the holy manger awash in its glow. Like a beacon of grace, this little star shone out in the darkness, proclaiming the Light of the World!
How Quietly, How Quietly
Narrator (Choir of Children reciting in unison)
Within a crib my Savior lay / a wooden manger filled with hay /
Come down for love on Christmas Day
Now Holy Babe rest in Your bed / But on the Cross His blood He’ll shed /
O Jesus, Jesus, rest your head
Jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head
As shepherds watched their flocks by night, suddenly the glory of the Lord shone about them, and the heavenly host appeared to them, saying “Glory to God in the highest! The Savior is born in Bethlehem!”
Can it be true? Is this midnight vision to be believed? Is the King whom we have all been waiting for been born this silent night? Come, let us see Jesus! Come with the Magi – those kings of the East – see their royal array in a majestic procession. Come with the shepherds – fresh from the fields – still smelling of sheep and the goats and the grass – with the radiance of the heavenly host flickering on their faces. Come with the angels, and give glory to God – Hallelujah!
Hurry, Hurry to Bethlehem
“Let us, like these good shepherds, then employ
Our grateful voices to proclaim the joy
Look now! the Babe, who has retrieved our loss
From His poor manger to His bitter cross
Trusting His pow’r, assisted by His grace
Till man’s restored to His glorious place.
Then may we hope, the angelic thrones among
To sing, redeemed, a glad triumphal song
He that was born upon this joyful day
Around us all His glory shall display
Saved by His grace, incessant we shall sing
Eternal praise to Christ, almighty King.”
A Christmas Proclamation
Christmas is here! And the Christ child is born! Salvation is created! Sin, death and darkness are conquered- so joy the world! And glory to God in the highest. May you and your loved ones have a happy – and holy – Christmas!
A Carol Festival