My sister volunteered my services to help out her ward choir this year. The director and her daughter have been writing the program ever since Easter. They really wanted to center the messages on prophecies from the Old Testament, have a variety of songs, and close with the Bishop's remarks. They also planned to use only hymns from our current hymnal. But they did not want to use the normal Christmas carols (at least not the ones that are already in our hymnal).
Well, it seems that there are some issues with using only the Old Testament and our Hymnal for the resources for their program. There are not many hymns that are Messianic from Old Testament texts. I could find just one, "Come, O Thou King of Kings." (And by the way, the last time I checked, Christ's birth signaled the beginning of the New Testament. Just sayin'.)
Another issue is that the Congregation really likes being included in the singing on Christmas and they really like their old favorites like "Joy to the World," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," and "Away in the Manger."
After a lot of discussion, we finally came up with a compromise. They wanted to use "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" (very basic, mostly 2-Part) with Cello, an Alto/Tenor duet of "What Child Is This?" (with some choir "oohs"), a Primary children's song, and end with a medley of "Rejoice the Lord Is King/Joy to the World" SATB where the congregation joins in for one verse. (I think they were also having the Youth do a number and are also including the congregation on a hymn that is actually used as a Sacrament hymn. But I don't have to arrange those.)
They really wanted a new (not in the Children's Songbook) Christmas song for the children. They actually decided on "Lord of All," a song I wrote that won an Award of Distinction as a solo. Recently, I wrote a simplified version for children.
So, I am finishing up the arrangements I promised for them. Hope it all works out.
Enjoy "Lord of All" sung by my granddaughter Megan Rock.