Watchnight Service, 24th December 2021, Order of Service

Order of Service



Bruce Archibald

Just over two thousand years ago a young peasant girl named Mary came face to face with the archangel Gabriel. The astounding news he brought must have shaken Mary to the very core. News that would not only change her life, but change the world for ever. News that God would come to live amongst us in the person of His son Jesus Christ.
On the night of His birth, as He lay in that borrowed manger, in that borrowed stable, His mother, Mary, must have looked down upon that child in wonderment and amazement. She must have pondered the future with trepidation and anxiety. As she held Him in her arms she may have thought “WHO are you? Who are you? Who are you?”
Well, we here in Dalserf this evening do know who He was, and what He was going to do, and how the story would eventually unfold.
We are here tonight in memory of that occasion and to thank God for that gift to mankind.

So let us begin our worship tonight by singing our first hymn.

CH4 305
In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan
Earth stood hard as iron
Water like a stone
Snow had fallen
Snow on snow on snow
In the bleak midwinter
Long, long ago

Angels and Arc Angels
May have travelled there
Cherubim and Seraphim
Thronged the air
But only his Mother
In her maiden bliss
Worshiped the beloved
With a kiss

What can I give him?
Poor as I am
If I were a shepherd
I would give a lamb
If I were a wise man
I would do my part
But what I can I give him
Give him my heart


God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galiliean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and virgin’s name, Mary.
Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:
Good morning!
You are beautiful with God’s beauty,
Beautiful inside and out!
God be with you.
She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.
He will be great,
Be called “Son of the Highest.”
The Lord will give him the throne of David;
He will rule Jacob’s house forever-
No end, ever, to his kingdom.”
Mary said to the angel, “But how? I’ve never slept with a man.
The angel answered,
The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
The power of the Highest will hover over you;
Therefore, the child you bring to birth
Will be called Holy, son of God.

The Birth Of Jesus- Luke Ch 2
About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David’s town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the host

CH4 206
While shepherds watched their flocks by night
All seated on the ground
The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone around

“Fear not”, said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind”

“To you, in David’s town this day
Is born of David’s line
The Saviour who is Christ the Lord
And this shall be the sign”

“The heavenly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands
And in a manger laid”

Thus spake the seraph, and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God, who thus
Addressed their joyful song

“All glory be to God on high
And on the earth be peace
Goodwill henceforth from heaven to men
Begin and never cease


There were shepherds camping in the neighbourhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Saviour has just been born in David’s town, a Saviour who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger. At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights,

Peace to all men and women on earth who please him. As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the shepherds talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the shepherds were impressed. Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The shepherds returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told:

Written by Philip Fox
First a reflection from Rev Dr Peter Millar (a former Warden of Iona)
In the poorest homes, and in the richest, the candles are lit
Some burning brightly, others a fragile flicker – much like ourselves on this coming Christmas Day.
Fragile, even if well sheltered and booster-filled, we wonder what the candles say to us in such unusual times.
Perhaps six words is all we need from these small flames: “take courage, and be not afraid”
Timeless words – always able to penetrate our uncertain journeys – and wonderfully gifted from God,
Reminding us that Christmas illumines our true meaning on earth, our amazing courageous humanity,
and our extraordinary capacity to love.

Let’s pray together,
God of all people, as we wait again for the coming of Christmas Day let us take time to be still, and pause from the business of the season.
We remember a poor couple travelling to Bethlehem, because they had to, and their search to find somewhere, anywhere, for Mary to give birth,
And we reflect on the joy of the safe arrival of Jesus, despite the insanitary conditions, and of the visitors who came to pay their respects at the birth on God incarnate.
We also remember the fear and the anxiety that stalked Herod that made the Wise Men know that all was not well, that put in place the decree to slaughter
young boys, that forced the Holy Family to flee.
God of all the years, tonight as we wait for Christmas, we remember those who are still waiting, – for justice, for peace, for release, waiting to be seen, recognised and included.
We remember the work of your Son,- to bring good news and proclaim a different way to live. As we go into our Christmas celebrations let us do likewise.
Incarnate God, born on Christmas Day, we welcome you again into our world and into our lives.
Vulnerable God, born as a baby to a poor family, you came to revolutionise the world through love, peace and justice.
Human God, life’s joys and sorrows were also yours, be with those who mourn today as well as those whose hearts are light.
Reconciling God, who holds the whole created order, let us tread lightly on the earth and treat each other with compassion.
Loving God, who came that all may have life in all its fullness, be with us your people as we go out into our own celebrations today.
We offer all our prayers, spoken and unspoken, in the Blessed name of Jesus, the Saviour of us all, AMEN.

CH4 309
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

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia,
Christ the Saviour is born!
Christ the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night!
Son of God love’s pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus Lord, at Thy birth

Matthew 2: 1-12
There was something about that baby
Lying there in the stable hay,
The cows and the sheep stood watching
As the shepherds knelt to pray.
Mary, His mother, and Joseph
Sat close by the manger stall,
We could sense the awe and the worship
And the love in the hearts of all.

We had travelled far to see him,
We had followed the star in the east.
We enquired of him from King Herod
He’d be there in a palace at least.
Why was he born in a stable
In the cold back yard of an inn?
Was there no bed but a manger
For this child who was born a King?

We knelt on the floor in worship
And offered our gifts to Him there,
We spread them, in love, before Him
The frankincense, gold and myrrh.
We knew this Child was holy,
God’s son born to live among men
That their sins might be forgiven.
Bur how, or where, or when?

As we turned to leave the stable
The light from the star shone within.
And it seemed to light up the manger
And it seemed to light up Him.
We looked back as we left the stable,
And each felt a sense of loss,
For the light had cast a dark shadow
Twas the shadow of a cross.

CH4 306

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant!
O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem
Come and behold Him
Born the King of Angels
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
Christ the Lord!

God of God, Light of Light
Lo, He abhors not the Virgin’s womb
Very God
Begotten, not created
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
Christ the Lord!

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation
Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God
All glory in the highest
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
Christ the Lord!
Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born that happy morning
Jesus, to Thee be glory given
Word of the Father,
Then in flesh appearing
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
Christ the Lord!
May all who read this know the love of Christ
And have a very blessed Christmas

Written by Bruce Archibald
Gracious Father, we thank You for the opportunity to join together on this very special occasion. Take our lives and use us to love and serve You, and all people, in the power of Your Spirit and in the name of Your Son. You are able to keep us from falling and to present us blameless before the presence of Your glory with great joy. To You, our God, be Glory, Majesty, Dominion and Authority.
And so, as we go forth from this place, may the strength of God sustain us, may the power of God preserve us, may the hands of God protect us, may the love of God go with us and all whom we love, this day and for ever more.

It is with great sadness and regret that, due to the Rapid transmission of the Omicron Variant, it has been necessary to cancel the planned Watchnight Service. The planned order of Service will be on the Church web site for anyone who wishes to read through perhaps meditating on the readings and enjoying the proposed hymns. We pray that all will have a blessed Christmas and 2022 will see us able again to share fellowship.

A reminder that there will be no service here in Dalserf next Sunday 26th December. We are invited as a Congregation to worship at St Machans Church in Larkhall at 11am.
Hopefully a number of us will be able to take up this kind invitation and join our fellow Christians in worship.

The following Sunday 2nd January 2022 the service will be conducted by Revd David Doyle.
Scottish Government and Church of Scotland guidance for places of worship during the present Pandemic.

These can be found on both the Government Web Site and the Church of Scotland Covid advice site.

Main points for us are
• Face coverings, covering both mouth and nose, must be worn at all times in the church buildings.
• A Lateral Flo Test is advised prior to attending services
• Face coverings may only be removed to read the Lesson, make announcements and deliver the Sermon. However they should be replaced to move from one area to another.
• Congregations are strongly advised not to mingling inside the church building and where possible observe a one metre distancing with others.
• Guidelines exist for notifying authorities of positive tests following a church meeting.

Let’s do all we can to protect each other by respecting the virus, being vigilant and holding each other in prayer.

May God bless you and yours with a
Joyous Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.
We pray that you find peace and love during
this special time of the year..
May your family be blessed with all the joy that life can bring.
Happy Christmas.
Dalserf Kirk Session