Advent Lessons & Carols: From Darkness to Light 

Posted by Bruce Barber on

This Sunday, December 10 at 5 PM, Christ Church will celebrate the season of Advent with a service of Lessons & Carols. Have you attended this service since we began offering it two years ago? If you have not, or if you have and it left you hungering for more, read on...then join us on Sunday at 5 PM!

Throughout history, the Church kept Advent as a season of great solemnity - a time in which to meditate upon the ultimate issues of death, judgment, hell, and heaven. Advent, though, was also a time of great rejoicing, for Christ would come, not only as Judge but also as Savior, and would usher in the Kingdom of God. Advent, therefore, provided a vivid preparation for Christmas. Processions from west to east, and the use of lights, spoke of the Church's hope in the coming of Christ - the Light of the world - to banish sin and darkness. Antiphons were sung, calling upon God to deliver his people, and readings from the Old Testament were seen as pointing to the fulfillment of God's purposes in Jesus.

The liturgy we use at Christ Church has been developed and used at the great English Cathedral at Salisbury and aims to recapture that Advent longing and hope. It begins in darkness with the Advent Responsory, in which Christ's coming is announced. As the service unfolds, the church is transformed from darkness to light.

The service is structured around the Great "O" Antiphons of Advent, sung by the choir and congregation (O Come, O Come Emmanuel). These were sung originally as Antiphons to the Magnificat at the Evening Office from December 17th to 23rd and have provided a rich source of devotional imagery in Advent. The readings and music serve to complement the Antiphons and help us reflect on the theme of the Christ who comes to judge and save his people. The Service ends in confident hope in the One who is to come. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

The scripture readings come in pairs. An Old Testament reading speaks of God's promise. A New Testament reading proclaims how the promise is being fulfilled in Christ. And each pair is accented by a musical response that heightens our expectation and invites our trust in the coming of Christ as Judge and Redeemer.

Join us in worship this Sunday, December 10 at 5 PM. Also, at this service, we will welcome our new Bishop, Kevin Brown, for his first visit to Christ Church...this will be a Lessons and Carols you will NOT want to miss!

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