This coming Sunday, December 17, you will have the opportunity to hear the Christmas Story in two different ways.
8:30 am Worship - The St. Luke’s Choir will lead Lessons and Carols
10:00 am Worship – The children will give the message acting out a Christmas story.
The history of Lessons and Carols grew out of the ashes of the First World War. In 1918, a 34-year-old former army chaplain named Eric Milner-White was appointed Dean of King’s College. Nothing could prepare him for the atrocities he witnessed on the Western Front when he volunteered for service in 1914. He came home believing that the church was failing the troops. How could he communicate a message of God’s love to those who had been brutalized and traumatized by war?
Milner-White devised A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols as a means of outreach to those who felt alienated by the church or religion as a whole. Instead of a complicated mass, the carols service was simpler, alternating between choral anthems, congregational hymns, and readings. The resulting service had more drama and color, was more accessible and meaningful, and acknowledged the suffering of those impacted by the Great War. This gesture was particularly important to the town of Cambridge, which had lost 211 men from King’s College alone during the war. This loss prompted the Dean to include a prayer to honor the fallen, which is still read at the beginning of the service to this day.
Although the readings, prayers, and music change from year to year, the tradition remains.
At the 10 AM Worship, the children will lead us. Let us rejoice as we watch children participate in the story. The excitement of the children’s Christmas pageant is not age-dependent. As we relive our own experiences and retell our sacred story, we are joined once more with the angels and archangels, the shepherds and sheep, and all the people who have told this miraculous story of a young family and the tiny baby, born to bring us Peace and Joy.
Both will have communion.
May this coming Sunday prepare our hearts and minds for the miracle of Christmas, the coming of God in the weakness of a child, Jesus the Savior.