Lessons and Carols, Dec. 31, 2017

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Title:Lessons and Carols, Dec. 31, 2017

 Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, Lessons and Carols (full size gallery)

An extremely cold week with temperatures in the 20’s with a wind chill ten degrees below that. This cut attendance to church along with sickness and travel. We had 31 for the service compared to 37 a year ago.

Lessons and Carols is traditionally presented on the Sunday after Christmas. Where the Christmas lessons are specific on the birth of Jesus, Lessons and Carols puts the event in perspective covering the earlier Old Testament as well as the New Testament events leading up to Christ’s birth. 

The service,  first held after World War I in 1918,  was planned by Eric Milner-White, who at the age of thirty-four had just been appointed Dean of King’s College. His experience as an army chaplain had convinced him that the Church of England needed more imaginative worship.

He actually reached back to an earlier time for a service structure. The original service was, in fact, adapted from an Order drawn up by E.W. Benson, later Archbishop of Canterbury, for use in the wooden shed, which then served as his cathedral in Truro, at 10 pm on Christmas Eve 1880. AC Benson recalled: ‘My father arranged from ancient sources a little service for Christmas Eve – nine carols and nine tiny lessons, which were read by various officers of the Church, beginning with a chorister, and ending, through the different grades, with the Bishop.’

The service structure is simple. Traditionally, "Once in Royal David City" is the opening hymn, following by the lovely Bidding Prayer by the priest. 9 Old and New Testament readings alternate with hymns. The content of the service is flexible though one reading must be from Genesis. There is no sermon or communion. It ends with a closing collect and dismissal. 

The serviuce opened with a greeting from Catherine about the service 

All of the readings are here with the bulletin

The basic listing is as follows:

The First Lesson:Genesis 3:1-23 Adam and Eve rebel against God and are cast out of the Garden of Eden.

The Second Lesson: Isaiah 35:1-10 The prophet proclaims that God will come and save us.

The Third Lesson: Isaiah 40:1-11 God comforts the people and calls on them to prepare for redemption.

The Fourth Lesson: Luke 1:26-38 The Angel Gabriel announces to the Virgin Mary that she will bear the Son of the Most High.

The Fifth Lesson: Luke 1:57-80 John the Baptist is born and his father rejoices that his son will prepare the way of the Lord.

The Sixth Lesson: Luke 2:1-7 Jesus is born at Bethlehem

The Seventh Lesson: Luke 2:8-14 The angels appear to the shepherds.

The Eighth Lesson: Luke 2:15-20 The shepherds go to Bethlehem and then share the good news.

The Ninth Lesson: John 1:1-18 The Word was made flesh and we have seen His glory.

The Christmas season ends this Saturday, Jan. 6 with our Epiphany service which adds a love feast.

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