Advent Lessons and Carols

Date: Sunday, December 4
Time: 5 pm
Location: Church, followed by a reception in the Great Hall

Rooted in the liturgical church (Episcopal, Lutheran and Roman Catholic) the season of Advent precedes Christmas as the venerable time of preparation for the birth of Jesus. It is a four-week time of waiting, of expectant anxiety and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus.

The church’s finest poets and musicians from centuries ago to the present time have given us words and music for hymns and carols, to sing year after year; and the wealth of appropriate choral music for choirs is almost endless. As Episcopalians and heirs of the Church of England, we inherit this tradition from late 19th century England. In our country, the oldest continuous tradition, begun in 1928, is alive and well at the Groton School, Groton, Massachusetts. It is safe to say that during the annual season of Advent, hundreds of parishes throughout the US will offer their own unique form of this service.

Counter-culturally, during this period we do not sing Christmas hymns and carols in church; rather we bathe in the recounting of the Old Testament prophecies, rich with imagery and fascinating story. We purposely hold back the urge to echo the music heard during Advent throughout public areas. Rather, we honor and revel in the colorful majesty of word and music dating from the 4th century to the present day. The Advent story is found poetically in our Hymnal 1982.

On the Second Sunday in Advent, December 6 at 5 pm, Epiphany will offer our service of Advent Lessons & Carols. In this liturgy, the congregation becomes the chief actors in their attention to the readings and singing the hymns. Readers from the parish will recount these age-old prophecies and Epiphany Choir and Choristers will offer music which illuminates the stories.

A reception will follow the service in the Great Hall. We hope you will join us in this annual drama of expectation of the birth of our Savior.

—Tom Foster