There are many variations of the Lessons and Carols program read and sung every Christmas season in churches all over the world. The program dates back to 1878 at the Truro Cathedral in England where a Christmas Eve service of carols was sung for the community. The service became formalized two years later with the addition of Nine Lessons celebrating the birth of Jesus through Bible readings of the fall of humanity, the promise of the Messiah and the birth of Jesus, interspersed with the singing of Christmas carols, hymns and choir music. Probably the best known version is from the King’s College, Cambridge, which first began in 1918 and continues today with a live broadcast each Christmas Eve.
This year the Saint James Choir invites members and guests to a traditional service on December 23, at 10:30 a.m., incorporating all Nine Lessons with readings and music involving the congregation, children and choir. Last year the choir and congregation sang a modified version with about seven lessons, delaying the songs and readings of the birth of Christ until Christmas Eve. Because the schedule allows us to worship the day before Christmas Eve, we will include the entire Nine Lessons on the 23rd. Of course, our choir is working hard to prepare all the music, but what would the Christmas season be without the “Hallelujah Chorus” which follows this year’s third lesson! Many of our adults and children will be involved in this special service and we hope that you and your guests will join us for the occasion.