Bishop Julian - Christmas 2020

He came down to earth from heaven,

Who is God and Lord of all…


As a young Christian and Anglican chorister, I would await the annual advent carol service with eager anticipation.  The service would be one of the most well attended of the year at my Anglican school chapel.  The head chorister would often be chosen to sing as a solo, the opening verse of Irish poet Cecil Frances Alexander’s carol, ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ written in 1848.


Since 1919, the Choir of King’s College Cambridge has used ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ as its opening carol for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. The service takes place in the historic King’s College Chapel Cambridge on Christmas Eve and our school chapel followed the same tradition.


The words of the carol, printed below, are a gospel treasure!  They take us from the lowly cattle shed of Christ’s first coming, to our pilgrimage towards him in heaven.


Each time to sing these beautiful words, I marvel at their gospel declaration that Christ came down to earth from heaven… He is God and Lord of all.


This carol reminds me of Paul’s words to the Colossians, For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.  What great reassurance this is for us!  Because of Christ, there is no need to supplement our faith with anything extra.  Christ alone is sufficient and He always will be.


As you pause to worship Him this Christmas season, remember He chose the way of the cross and gave us the way of life.  He came down to earth from heaven, who is God and Lord of all.


Almighty God, you have given your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and to be born of a pure virgin: Grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with you and the same Spirit be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.


God bless you this Christmas,

Bishop Julian Dobbs


Once in Royals David’s City

Cecil Frances Alexander


Once in Royal David’s city

Stood a lowly cattle shed,

Where a mother laid her Baby

In a manger for His bed:

Mary was that mother mild,

Jesus Christ her little Child.


He came down to earth from heaven,

Who is God and Lord of all,

And His shelter was a stable,

And His cradle was a stall;

With the poor, and mean, and lowly,

Lived on earth our Saviour holy.


And through all His wondrous childhood

He would honour and obey,

Love and watch the lowly maiden,

In whose gentle arms He lay:

Christian children all must be

Mild, obedient, good as He.


For he is our childhood’s pattern;

Day by day, like us He grew;

He was little, weak and helpless,

Tears and smiles like us He knew;

And He feeleth for our sadness,

And He shareth in our gladness.


And our eyes at last shall see Him,

Through His own redeeming love;

For that Child so dear and gentle

Is our Lord in heaven above,

And He leads His children on

To the place where He is gone.


Not in that poor lowly stable,

With the oxen standing by,

We shall see Him; but in heaven,

Set at God’s right hand on high;

Where like stars His children crowned

All in white shall wait around.