Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Peace to the Children; Peace to the troubled soul; Peace on Earth - Monmouth 3rd Ward Sacrament Christmas program

The primary children first sang two songs, "Samuel tells of baby Jesus" and "Picture a Christmas" from the Primary songbook.


We have heard it said that Christmas is for children.  Not only do our little ones feel joyful anticipation for Christmas presents, they also join their elders in celebrating the miraculous birth of our savior.  We have seen that in the songs our Primary children presented this morning.  Through these songs the children gain testimonies of the scriptures, and through them they express their faith in the miraculous birth and life of our Savior.

Because Jesus entered the world as a poor and lowly baby, he is approachable by all, though he is the creator of Heaven and Earth.  Our children understand that he loves each one of us, personally, regardless of our station in life.  And our children understand that this little baby was in need of the protection and comfort of loving parents, just as they are.  And no matter how old we grow, we can still feel in ourselves that longing to be enfolded in the loving arms of our Father in Heaven, and to be embraced by the Savior Jesus Christ.

It is fitting, then, that among our Christmas songs which acknowledge the true meaning of Christmas, so many of them are prayers for peace, greetings of peace, or lullabies sung in peaceful tones, to remind us that we are Children of God, and that he will not forget us.

The choir will sing three lullabies of peace: “Still, Still, “Dona Nobis Pacem”, and “Jesus Lord at Thy Birth”.   When the choir sings “The Nativity Song”, please join in on verses 3 through 5, using the paper that was handed out.

Still, still, still 
(Austrian Carol, Norman Luboff arrangement
Lyrics by Marilyn Keith and Alan Bergman)

Still, still, still, one can hear the falling snow.
For all is hushed the world is sleeping,
Holy Star its vigil keeping
Still, still, still, one can hear the falling snow

Sleep, sleep, sleep, tis the eve of our Savior's birth.
The night is peaceful all around you, 
Close your eyes, let sleep surround you,
Sleep, sleep, sleep, tis the eve of our Savior's birth

Dream, dream, dream, of the joyous day to come,
While guardian angels without number
Watch you as you sweetly slumber,
Dream, dream, dream, of the joyous day to come.

Dona Nobis Pacem (Traditional round)

Translates to the prayer, "Grant us Peace"

Jesus Lord at thy Birth (Sally DeFord)

Jesus, Lord, at they birth, 
The heavens are singing a lullaby, 
Legions of angels are watching nigh,
Jesus, Lord, at they birth,
Not a cradle is found for thy bed,
But a manger of hay in its stead, 
Where the cattle may feed, must suffice for thy need,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

Jesus, Lord, at thy birth, 
The shepherds adore thee on bended knee,
Wise men shall hasten to worship thee,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth, 
Neither sliver nor gold crowns thy head,
But thy Father hath crowned thee instead
With His glory and light, with His mercy and might,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

Jesus, Lord, at they birth, 
With shepherds and wise men we seek thy face, 
And join with the angels to sing thy praise,
Jesus, Lord, at they birth, 
Not the treasures of earth do we bring,
But to honor thee, Savior and King,
Now and ever thou art enthroned in our hearts,
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus Lord, at thy birth

The Nativity Song  (LDS Primary Songbook, Kelsey Graham)

1. This is the season beloved of the year.
Sing a rhyme; Christmastime soon will be here.
Tell the true story of Jesus' birth,
When, as a baby, he came to the earth.
2. This is the new star, shining so bright,
Lighting the world on that first Christmas night.
This is the angel proclaiming the birth,
Singing "Hosanna!" and "Peace on the earth!"
3. This is the stable, shelter so bare;
Cattle and oxen first welcomed him there.
This is the manger, sweet hay for a bed,
Waiting for Jesus to cradle his head.
4. These are the shepherds, humble and mild,
Hast'ning to worship the heavenly child.
These are the wise men who followed the star,
Frankincense, gold, and myrrh brought from afar.
5. See the sweet mother, Mary so fair,
Joseph, who guided the donkey with care.
See the dear baby of Bethlehem,
Little Lord Jesus, the Savior of men.

This Nativity Song we just sang contains all the key elements of the story of Jesus Birth:  The star, the angels, the shepherds, the wise men, the stable and manger, Mary, and Joseph.  It is a great song for teaching the story to children, and it reminds us that this is a true story.  Why is it important to teach this story?

Perhaps Nephi said it best.  “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”

The nativity story and even our modern Christmas traditions point our minds to the plan of salvation and the atoning sacrifice of God’s Only Begotten Son.  

The candy cane reminds us of the humble shepherds who were witnesses to the miracle in the stable.  And that Jesus himself offers to be our Shepherd, leading us in peaceful valleys, and seeking after us when we are lost.

The traditional Christmas colors red and white, remind us that the Lord said, Come now, and let us reason together.  Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Evergreen trees, like our Christmas trees, hold on to their leaves year round, showing the strength of life through the harshest winters.  Truly we can have hope in the redeeming and enabling power of the savior, through all of life’s difficulties and through eternity.

These symbols remind us that this little baby is the promised Savior of our souls, bringing us peace greater than the challenges of life.  These next songs do likewise.  First, Sophie Bevans and Jessica Steed will present a piano duet, “O Holy Night.”  Then Gretchen Mitchell will join the choir singing “He Sent His Son.”  And the choir will sing “The First Noel”, arranged with our sacramental hymn, “Jesus Once of Humble Birth.”

O Holy Night

Oh holy night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name

He Sent His Son (Mabel Jones Gabbott and Michael Finlinson Moody)

How could the Father tell the world of love and tenderness?
He sent his Son, a newborn babe, with peace and holiness.
How could the Father show the world the pathway we should go?
He sent his Son to walk with men on earth, that we may know.
How could the Father tell the world of sacrifice, of death?
He sent his Son to die for us and rise with living breath.
What does the Father ask of us? What do the scriptures say?
Have faith, have hope, live like his Son, help others on their way.
What does he ask? Live like his Son.

The First Noel / Jesus Once of Humble Birth (traditional) (Parley P. Pratt)

1. The first Noel the angel did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay,
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep
On a cold winter's night that was so deep.
2. They looked up and saw a star
Shining in the East beyond them far,
And to the earth it gave great light,
And so it continued both day and night.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel!
Born is the King of Israel!
1. Jesus, once of humble birth,
Now in glory comes to earth.
Once he suffered grief and pain;
Now he comes on earth to reign.
Now he comes on earth to reign.


Jesus once of humble birth, now in glory comes to earth.  This refers to another mission of the promised Messiah, that he will return to the earth in all his glory and usher in a millenium of peace, where he will rule and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  This peace will extend to all the world, and all Christians long for this promised day.  Isaiah records the Lord’s promise for this future time:

In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.  For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.  

And significantly, we are promised, "And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children."

The herald Angels echo this in their proclamation to the shepherds: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."  And in our hymn, “Joy to the World”, Isaac Watts writes:

No more will sin and sorrow grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He’ll come and make the blessings flow
Far as the curse was found.

The choir will now sing, “Joy to the World”, followed by “Peace Peace”.  After the choir sings two verses of Peace Peace, let us join in, singing with all our hearts, “Silent Night.”

Joy to the World (Lyrics by Isaac Watts altered by William Phelps; music by Handel)

1. Joy to the world, the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King!
Let ev'ry heart prepare him room,
And Saints and angels sing,
And Saints and angels sing,
And Saints, and Saints and angels sing.
2. Rejoice! Rejoice when Jesus reigns,
And Saints their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.
3. No more will sin and sorrow grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He'll come and make the blessings flow
Far as the curse was found,
Far as the curse was found,
Far as, far as the curse was found.
4. Rejoice! Rejoice in the Most High,
While Israel spreads abroad
Like stars that glitter in the sky,
And ever worship God,
And ever worship God,
And ever, and ever worship God.
Peace, Peace (Words by Rick and Sylvia Powell, Arranged by Fred Bock)

Peace, peace, peace on earth
And good will to all
This is a time for joy,
This is a time for love.
Now let us all sing together
Of peace, peace, peace on earth

Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace