THE BIG CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTS SWITCH-ON!

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1 THE BIG CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTS SWITCH-ON! and Blessing of the Christmas Tree with The Ely Cathedral Choristers and The Ely Imps

2 Welcome to Ely Cathedral! Introduction The use of the Christmas tree is relatively modern in this country. The tradition arrived from Germany in the 18th Century, where ever-green trees were brought into the home and decorated with apples, nuts and other foods. In earlier times, evergreens were thought by Christians to symbolise various things, including eternal life, the Holy Trinity, and the tree of paradise in the Garden of Eden. The Christmas Tree is often decorated with stars and angels, to represent the star of Bethlehem and the Angel Gabriel who brought glad tidings of the Saviour s birth. Every year, our very special Christmas Tree attracts visitors from near and far. It takes 5 days to decorate! Welcome to this special service as we prepare for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We hear readings, and sing carols which help us prepare for Christmas. We switch on the lights of our Christmas Tree for the first time and say a prayer of blessing. Our Christmas Tree stays in the Cathedral until after the feast of the Epiphany on 6th January. The Choristers Sing Deck the Hall 2

3 Minister Minister Minister In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe. To you be glory and praise for ever. From the rising of the sun to its setting, your name is proclaimed in all the world. To you be glory and praise for ever. When the time had fully come you sent the Sun of Righteousness. In him the fullness of your glory dwells. To you be glory and praise for ever. CAROL 1 Cathedral Choristers The holly and the ivy, When they are both full grown Of all the trees that are in the wood The holly bears the crown 2 The holly bears a blossom As white as lily flower And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ To be our sweet Saviour O the rising of the sun And the running of the deer The playing of the merry organ Sweet singing of the choir O the rising of the sun And the running of the deer The playing of the merry organ Sweet singing of the choir 3

4 A READING from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel 17:22-24 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches. the trees of the forest will know that I the LORD bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it. For the word of the Lord Thanks be to God CAROL 3 Cathedral Choristers The holly bears a prickle As sharp as any thorn; And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ On Christmas Day in the morn. O the rising of the sun And the running of the deer The playing of the merry organ Sweet singing of the choir 4 The holly and the ivy, When they are both full grown Of all the trees that are in the wood The holly bears the crown O the rising of the sun And the running of the deer The playing of the merry organ Sweet singing of the choir Minister Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound; let the plains be joyful and all that is in them! the trees of the forest shall exult before the Lord, for He comes; for He comes to rule the earth. He shall rule the world with justice and the people with His constancy. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. 4

5 Minister Loving God, we stand before you once again. We stand here ready to celebrate the birth of your son, Jesus. Bless this tree, this sign of life and freshness and perseverance in our midst. It stands as a reminder that you are born anew in us each day. The tree is sprinkled CAROL Bless our family and friends as we celebrate this joyous season. Keep us safe in our travels, kind in our conversations, and gracious in our giving and receiving. We ask you this in confidence, because we know you love us through your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. 1 2 O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree! Your leaves are so unchanging; How richly God has decked you! O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree! Your leaves are so unchanging; How richly God has decked you! Not only green when summer s here, You help us true and faithful be, But also when it s cold and drear. And trust in God unchangingly. O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree! Your leaves are so unchanging; How richly God has decked you! Minister Lord God, let your blessing come upon us as we illumine this tree. May the light and cheer it gives be a sign of the joy that fills our hearts. May all who delight in this tree come to the knowledge and joy of salvation. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. The cathedral lights are dimmed The lights of the tree are then illuminated The Ely Imps sing The Gift Goes On by Richard Harris b

6 Minister Dear Friends, amidst signs and wonders Christ Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea: his birth brings joy to our hearts and enlightenment to our minds. With this tree, decorated and adorned, may we welcome Christ among us; may its lights guide us to the perfect light. May the God of glory fill our hearts with peace and joy, now and forever. Amen CAROL 1 Long ago, prophets knew Christ would come, born a Jew Come to make all things new Bear his peoples burden Freely love and pardon Ring bells ring, ring, ring! Sing choirs sing, sing, sing! When he comes, when he comes Who will make him welcome? 2 God in time, God in man This is God s timeless plan He will come as a man Born himself of woman God divinely human Ring bells ring, ring, ring! Sing choirs sing, sing, sing! When he comes, when he comes Who will make him welcome? 3 Mary, hail! Though afraid. She believed, she obeyed. In her womb, God is laid. Till the time expected, Nurtured and protected. Ring bells ring, ring, ring! Sing choirs sing, sing, sing! When he comes, when he comes We will make him welcome! 6

7 BLESSING Christ the Sun of Righteousness shine upon you, scatter the darkness from before your path, and make you ready to meet him when he comes in glory; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, remain with you always. Amen. A Retiring Collection will be taken which, after expenses, will be divided between the following charities: DISASTERS EMERGENCY COMMITTEE The DEC brings 13 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis. It launches appeals to raise money to help those impacted by disaster, making sure that funds reach those that need them most. It responds to disasters in the world s poorest countries.the DEC consists of member agencies who are experts in humanitarian aid, delivering the efficient disaster responses which donors expect and those affected by disasters need. Its most recent focus is the plight of the Rohingya muslims expelled from Myanmar. CHRISTIANS AGAINST POVERTY Founded in 1996 CAP assists those crippled by debt; parents who cannot feed their children, families facing eviction and desperate people living in fear and without hope. CAP has rapidly grown its debt centre network and expanded its services to tackle the causes of debt and poverty through CAP Job Clubs, Release Groups (fighting addiction) and a new service, CAP Life Skills, to equip people to live well on a low income. Its vision is to bring freedom and good news to the poor in every community through 1,000 CAP projects by EMMAUS CAMBRIDGE Emmaus ambridge opened in 1992, becoming the first Emmaus community in the UK. Over the years, the community has grown and there are now 34 companion bedrooms as well as our furniture emporium and cafe. Living in a stable environment with the opportunity to work helps the companions, as residents are known, to regain lost self-esteem and the confidence to get back on their feet. Your donation will help them to provide a home and meaningful work to people experiencing homelessness and social exclusion. 7

8 ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS AT ELY CATHEDRAL Tuesday 12 December Pre-School Christmas Celebration 1pm Compline in the Lady Chapel 9pm Saturday 16 December Community Christmas Carol Sing-a-Long 2pm Sunday 17 December Evensong - Ceremony of Carols with Ely Cathedral Girls Choir 4pm Advent Taizé 6.30pm in the Lady Chapel Tuesday 19 December Compline in the Lady Chapel 9pm Friday 22 December Hark! the Herald Concert 7.30pm - This event has sold out Saturday 23 December Crib Service (I) sung by The Ely Imps 3pm Carol Service (I) sung by the Cathedral Choir CHRISTMAS EVE Crib Service (I) sung by the Boy Choristers 3pm Carol Service (II) sung by the Cathedral Choir 6pm Midnight Mass 11.30pm CHRISTMAS DAY Sung Eucharist by the Ely Cathedral Choir 10.30am Christmas Day Lunch in the Lady Chapel 12noon Evensong sung by the Cathedral Choir 4pm Sunday 31 December Service of Readings and Carols 4pm This service is always led by local singers and their guests, and by any other singers who find themselves in Ely that day. There is a rehearsal at 2.30pm and the service is at 4pm. Those who possess copies of Carols for Choirs (Books 1 and 2) are asked to bring them along. There will be some copies available on the day. Sunday 17 January Epiphanytide Procession 4pm 8

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