Christmas at Covenant schedule and highlights of a hope-filled season

Two Services of Lessons & Carols

Sunday, Dec. 18, 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Covenant’s Annual Festival of Advent and Christmas Lessons and Carols is a highlight of the season, featuring the entire family of Covenant's children, youth and adult vocal and handbell choirs led by John Richardson and Rob Dicks, accompanied by organ, piano, clarinet, flute and cello.

Nine scripture lessons interspersed among carols and motets tell the story of humanity from the fall of Adam and Eve to the promise of the Messiah and the birth of Jesus.

The worship service is held in the Sanctuary at 11 a.m. and is led by the Covenant Choir, Covenant Ringers and the Angelus and Chorister Children’s Choirs.

A second Lessons and Carols service will take place at 5 p.m. led by the Covenant Choir, a newly formed Covenant Bell Ensemble and the Youth Chorale and Youth Bell Choir. A special offering will be received to benefit Crisis Assistance Ministry.

Years ago, Alice MacArthur and John Sadler Hayes II donated a set of English-made Whitechapel handbells that we will use as free-ringing and chordal peals for the ancient chant, Creator of the Stars of Night. Members of the adult and youth handbell choirs will ring in thanksgiving for the Hayes’s lovely gift.

Rob Dicks, assistant music director, says, "I love how Lessons and Carols moves through the story of Jesus’ coming and birth. There is a rhythm to the alternating readings and carols that moves you through the foreshadowing of the Messiah, to the profound beginning of John’s Gospel, “In the beginning was the Word.” As a church musician you might think this kind of thing gets old, but it never does."

Scroll to the bottom for details on our Christmas Eve offering (received at all services).

Children's Christmas EVe Service

11 a.m., Sanctuary

Children's Worship Service

More children than ever will participate in the Children’s Christmas Eve Service. There are 28 kindergartners in the Nativity play, a chorus of elementary volunteers and the Covenant Preschool Cherub Choir. Children, children, everywhere!

For the second year in a row, a special ornament, made by the Christmas Angels Committee, will be given to each family as they depart the children’s service.

Out of the mouths of babes, we hear, see and feel the excitement of the familiar Nativity story - particularly as Nativity animals come to visit on our Circle, delighting the young and young at heart following the service. Expect a camel, donkey, sheep, cow and a surprise or two.

Christmas Eve Music of Appalachia Service

3 p.m., Sanctuary

Music of Appalachia

This new service is led by the worship arts team and will feature Christmas favorites with the instruments of the Appalachian mountains, including the banjo, mandolin, cello, fiddle, and upright bass.

A standout group of vocalists and musicians will add a new element to Christmas Eve worship, including solos from Susan Richey and Ellie Good and the dance artistry of Sayde Ball.

Director Daniel Heath says, “We are excited to offer new sounds to accompany old favorites. Come early to hear upbeat gathering music as we prepare for a rich worship experience that will feature arrangements by James Taylor, Alison Krauss, Keith and Kristyn Getty, and The Rend Collective band.”

Christmas Eve Candlelight Traditional Service

5 p.m.. Sanctuary

Covenant stained glass window

This service is led by the Covenant Choir, string quintet, organ and harp. An extended prelude begins 15 minutes before the service.

A time for seated communion will feature beautiful carols arranged by Mack Wilberg as part of an abbreviated version of Lessons and Carols.

We will begin the service with O Holy Night, and after communing with each other, end with a candlelit Silent Night before the jubilant singing of Joy to the World. Other favorite carols include O Come, All Ye Faithful, Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming and O Little Town of Bethlehem.

Christmas Eve Offering (all services)

Our Christmas Eve offering will provide:

  • Field trips for Highland Renaissance Academy (left), our CMS partner school. Fourth and fifth graders will tour museums and visit historic sites in Raleigh and Atlanta.
  • A trip aboard the Polar Express for children from Crossnore (center), a community in Avery County where everyday life can be a struggle. And we’ll give them gifts of sleeping bags, pajamas and books to take home.
  • A pool party and swim attire for young people served by Tomorrow’s Youth Organization (right), a nonprofit working in conflict zones in the Middle East. Children in a refugee camp in the West Bank will have a time to escape the worries of home and have some fun.

Credits:

Created with images by RichardBowen - "Concert"

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