Thursday, December 24, 2009

Lessons and Carols: Past, Present and Future

All Saint's Chapel, University of the South
Sewanee, Tennessee

I'm sitting in my kitchen this morning with El Jefe, basking in the bright sunshine outside, drinking coffee and listening to The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King's College, Cambridge. Beatrice and Olivia are peacefully napping in the corner.

Many years ago when El Jefe was a graduate student there, he had the privilege of reading the Second Lesson: "The Lord told the faithful Abraham that in his seed would all the nations of the world be blessed."

When Portia and Babs were babies and we attended First Presbyterian Church in Houston, I was a member of the choir and was tapped to do the chorister's reading at the midnight service. El Jefe stayed home with the, supposedly, sleeping children.

A few years later we had moved to Sugar Land and a brand-new church. I organized a Lessons and Carols service there using the middle and high school youth as readers and the adult choir leading the singing.

Lessons and Carols services are not really a Presbyterian tradition, so the next one we attended was at the University of the South when Babs was a senior in the university's chapel (which looks like a Cantabridgian cathedral, by the way). That was the most memorable Lessons and Carols for me. The gorgeous stained glass rose window at the front of the chapel was illuminated from outside by a large spotlight which brought a heavenly light into the sanctuary.

This year we attended a very nice Lessons and Carols at the Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Houston. Their children's choirs also participated and it was quite touching.

I hope someday to attend the King's College service in person.

Here's to Lessons and Carols--past, present and future--and a blessed Christmas Eve to all of you!


Sue said...

A blessed Merry Christmas to you and yours QG!

Gannet Girl said...

How I remember the Lovely Daughter at eight carefully reading that "And God put en----mi---ty between the man and the woman" !

I hope you get to go to King's College for L&C someday. I hope I do, too!

Elaine said...

My very Presbyterian church (you get to be VERY Presbyterian when you have the name Westminster) does lessons and carols on Christmas Eve and has for years. A year or two ago we started doing it a week in advance (as well as on the 24th) for all the people who are out of town for Christmas.

Good thing, this year. Oklahoma City got 15" of snow today. Everything is canceled, the Interstates are all closed let alone the lesser streets. We are broadcasting last week's traveler's service right now. I am watching it as I type this.

Norman, Oklahoma (where we only got 6" of snow and are greatful)