Christmas Program Planner

Church Choral Directors:
 
Christmas is “the best time of the year” for church choirs; yet it requires significant time spent planning. To aid this process, we’re beginning a series of free Christmas program plans which feature new and/or best-selling anthems from Beckenhorst Press.
This year’s program is “This Christmas Night”, and features pieces about the night of Christ’s birth. Structured in a loose lessons-and-carols format, this plan is highly flexible- we’ve anticipated variable options throughout the program, and have offered multiple options in several places, allowing you to use anthems already in your library, or to learn newly released anthems. (You may also want to work in more of this year’s new releases, other Christmas pieces from our catalog, or other pieces already in your own library, as well.)
All of these pieces, and their optional instrumentations, are available in print or digital delivery options at beckenhorstpress.com. We welcome your feedback on this program's usefulness, and suggestions for how we can continue to better help you, at info@beckenhorstpress.com. Happy planning!
 
-Dan Forrest
 

 

THIS CHRISTMAS NIGHT

 
Prelude (instrumental) (if handbells, possibly That Christmas Night (McChesney, HB285) or Silent Night! Holy Night! (Larson, HB280))
 
GATHERING (processional, if feasible) (choose 1):
  • O Come All Ye Faithful (Forrest, CU1001). (“come, let us adore Him” call to worship; piano four hands, with optional string quartet or full orchestra) (if processional, men may enter first, then women)
  • All My Heart This Night Rejoices (Manor, BP2124) (strong “night” theme; optional french horn or brass quintet, harp, organ, percussion)
  • Carols of the Night (Courtney, BP1345) (medley of Silent Night and O Holy Night; optional chamber ensemble or full orchestra)
  • O Holy Night (Courtney, BP1332)
  • Angels From the Realms of Glory (Forrest, CU1025) (“come and worship”; piano four hands, with optional violin and percussion or full orchestra)
  • A strong congregational hymn/carol could be used here as well, if congregational involvement is preferred
 
WELCOME
 
READING 1: Isaiah 9:2, 6-7a
 
CAROLS (Bethlehem/Prophecy):
 
READING 2: Isaiah 11:1-6, 10
 
CAROL (Root of Jesse/Future Shalom) (choose 1): 
 
READING 3: Matthew 1:18-23, Luke 2:1-7
 
CAROLS (Birth) (choose 1-2):
 
READING 4: Luke 2:8-16 or 20
 
CAROLS (Angels/Shepherds) (choose 1-2):
 
*Optional homily connecting to “night” theme
 
*Optional CANDLE LIGHTING CAROL: Silent Night (Forrest, BP2200) (optional string quartet or full orch)
 
READING 5: John 1:1-14
 
CAROLS (closing) (choose 1-2):
  • Silent Night (Forrest, BP2200) (if not used for Candlelight; strong “night” theme) (optional string quartet or full orch)
  • Sweetest Music, Softly Stealing (Hagenberg, BP2020) ("through the silence of the night", unifying/summary text)
  • Carols of the Night or O Holy Night (Courtney BP1345 or 1332) (if not used as Gathering)
  • All My Heart This Night Rejoices (if not used as Gathering) (Manor, BP2124) (optional french horn or brass quintet, harp, organ, percussion)
  • The First Noel (Forrest BP1857) (final stanza is good summary concert-ender; not as clear on “night” theme) (optional full orchestra)
  • A strong congregational hymn/carol could be used here as well, if congregational involvement is preferred
 
BENEDICTION - spoken/prayed. Or, optionally, may be sung: The Work of Christmas (Forrest, CU1029, a cappella)
 
Postlude (instrumental) 

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