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Christmas movies are one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. While my all-time favorite film is A Charlie Brown Christmas, my wife Laura enjoys The Muppet Christmas Carol. I love how these movies creatively retell the nativity story and the true meaning of Christmas.
After the First World War, former Army chaplain and Anglican Priest Eric Milner-White returned to Britain convinced the church needed to creatively retell the Christmas story through worship. For Fr. Eric, the horrors of modern combat exposed the need for a deepened understanding of the incarnation and its significance for our salvation. To these ends, the newly appointed Dean Milner-White of Kings College Cambridge organized the first Lessons & Carols on Christmas Eve 1918.
The service featured nine scripture readings accompanied by beautiful choral music. Since 1919, the service has always begun with ‘Once in Royal David’s City.’ Beginning in the 1930’s the BBC began broadcasting the service for millions of listeners worldwide. The Festival of Lessons and Carols eventually spread throughout the Anglican Communion, with many local parishes doing their own renditions.
The power of Lessons and Carols is two-fold. First, it is one of the rare occasions when the entire Christmas story is read aloud within the context of the whole biblical witness. Second, the accompanying music discloses the gospel-heart of the Christmas story. The combination of word and music profoundly moves the human heart.
Christ Church will host its own Lessons & Carols services on Sunday, December 18 at 9:15 & 11 a.m. Please be sure to add this creative retelling of the Christmas story through worship to your family’s annual traditions. Lessons & Carols is also an excellent opportunity to invite extended family, friends, and co-workers who need to hear the power of the Christmas story. We hope to see you there!
The Rev. Bryan BibaAssociate Rector, Adult Discipleship
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