One of the delightful traditions of an English Christmas is the Carol Service. The traditional service of Nine Lessons and Carols was pioneered at Kings’ College Cambridge in 1918 to bring a more creative approach to Christmas Worship.
The service has now spread across the Anglican world and is a Christmas tradition for Christians of many denominations. Part of the magic and mystery is for the choir to assemble at the back of the church or cathedral in candlelight. Then out of the darkness one child sings the first verse of “Once in Royal David’s City.”
The picture is of the choir of Hereford Cathedral. One of my best memories of Anglicanism was serving as a chaplain at Kings College Cambridge Choir School for two years. It was one of my duties to mentor and chaperone the choir boys and one of the perks were six tickets each year for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.
Here is the Anglican Prayer Book Collect for Christmas Day
ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin: Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.