On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me a partridge in a pear tree…
As we gather around our Christmas trees to celebrate Christmas, few of us think of Christmas Day as a beginning. For most families Christmas is the culmination, the climax, of weeks of planning, shopping, and anticipation. Not many are even aware that Christmas is but the first day of the twelve-day season referred to in the familiar song.
It's time again to start planning music for the Christmas season and devising ways to involve children in our Christmas worship. Year after year we search for new ways to tell the old story. What many weary children's choir directors and harried church school coordinators aren't aware of is that good complete programs are readily available.
Below we have printed the outline of an Epiphany service including the prayers, songs, and litanies that were repeated in the bulletin each week during the Epiphany season. The liturgy, prepared by Leonard Vander Zee, pastor of Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has been used by that congregation for the past two years. The song was composed by a member of the Church of the Servant (CRC), Grand Rapids, Michigan, for use in their Epiphany liturgy.
Epiphany season begins twelve days after Christmas, on January 6, and continues until the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. In 1988 the season covers six Sundays.The Sunday lessons during this season center upon events and readings from the ministry of Jesus, all of them concentrating on the seasonal theme: God, in Jesus Christ, personally appeared (Greek: epiphaneia) on earth, revealing himself to us directly rather than through any chosen messenger.
The choral music listed on these pages (all hymn anthems) is appropriate for use in worship during Advent, Christmas, or Epiphany. All the tunes appear in one or more of the three new Reformed hymnals: Rejoice in the Lord, Psalter Hymnal, and The Trinity Hymnal. All entries are SATB a cappella unless indicated otherwise.
Our choir has discovered that the hymn-anthem is an effective way of introducing new songs to the congregation. We follow a process similar to the following: