In their Christmas celebrations, many United Methodist churches around the world perform the "Festival Lessons and Carols," which was composed in 1880 by Anglican Bishop E. W. Benson of Truro, Cornwall, England. In this presentation of the "Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols" on this page, we've chosen nine hymns sung by United Methodist choirs to accompany the prayers and lessons below. All of these videos, and renditions by other United Methodist churches, are publicly available on YouTube. Merry Christmas!
"Once in Royal David's City" (UMH 250) sung by the Sanctuary Choir at First United Methodist Church, Houston, Texas.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
The almighty God bless us with divine grace, Christ give us the joys of everlasting life, and unto the fellowship of the citizens above my the King of Angels bring us all. Amen.
"Of the Father's Love Begotten" (UMH 184) sung by the Bon Air United Methodist Church choir in Bon Air, Virginia.
FIRST LESSON (Genesis 3:8-15, 17-19)
God announces in the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve's punishment for their rebellion and that the see of woman shall bruise the serpent's head.
"Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus" (UMH 196) performed by the True Light Praise Team from Hockessin United Methodist Church, in Hockessin, Delaware.
SECOND LESSON (Genesis 22:15-18)
God promises to Abraham that by his descendants all the nations of the earth shall obtain blessing.
"O Come, O Come Emmanuel" (UMH 211) performed by the North Scottsdale United Methodist Church Hand Bell Choir in North Scottsdale, Arizona.
THIRD LESSON (Isaiah 9:2, 6-7)
The prophet announces the birth of a king to a people in darkness
"Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" (UMH 216) sung by the Chancel Choir of Boston Avenue United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
FOURTH LESSON (Isaiah 11:1-4a, 6-9, or Michah 5:2-5a)
The king is coming and will usher in a reign of justice for the poor and peace for all of God's creation.
"O Little Town of Bethlehem" (UMH 230) sung by the Chancel Choir from Burbank First United Methodist Church in Burbank, California.
FIFTH LESSON (Luke 1:26-35, 38)
The angel Gabriel announces to the virgin Mary that she will give birth to God's promised Son whose kingdom shall never end.
"My Soul Gives Glory to My God" (UMH 198) performed by the St. John's United Methodist Church Choir in Lubbock, Texas (audio only).
SIXTH LESSON (Luke 2:1-7)
Against a backdrop of emperors and taxes, Jesus is born
"The First Noel" (UMH 245) sung by the choir at Campbell United Methodist Church in Campbell, California
SEVENTH LESSON (Luke 2:8-16)
The shepherds to to see the Savior of the world, lying in a manger.
"In the Bleak Midwinter" (UMH 221) performed by Garrett Kheshtinejad at First United Methodist Church of Grand Prairie, Texas.
EIGHTH LESSON (Matthew 2:1-11)
The wise men follow a star to find the child Jesus, the King of the Jews.
"We Three Kings" (UMH 254) sung by a portion of the Central United Methodist Church Men's Choir in Atlanta, Georgia. Soloist is Christopher Beal.
NINTH LESSON (John 1:1-14)
John unfolds the great mystery of the Incarnation.
"O Come, All Ye Faithful" (UMH 234) performed by the First United Methodist Church Chancel Choir in Cumming, Georgia, along with other choirs and instrumentalists.
DISMISSAL WITH BLESSING
May the Christ who by his Incarnation gathered into One things earthly and heavenly, fill you with the sweetness of inward peace and goodwill; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you always. Amen.
Go forth in peace and joy. Thanks be to God. Alleluia!
*Listen to a live performance of "Lessons and Carols" at a United Methodist landmark.