Advent Lessons and Carols

The word “Advent” means “coming,” or “drawing near.” During this season, Christians throughout the world prepare for the anniversary of Christ’s first coming through reflection on our yearning for wholeness and salvation. Such reflection can serve to heighten our sense of anticipation for the Christ Child’s birth, which we will celebrate on Christmas. The Advent season also reminds us that Christ will come again at the end of time to reign over heaven and earth in majesty. 

To help you “draw near”, the Sanctuary Choir, Singing for Life, Youth Chorale and Bryn Mawr Festival Brass will present an Advent Service of Lessons and Carols, this Sunday, December 10, at 4 p.m. This service originated in 1880 with E. W. Benson, Bishop of Truro Cathedral in England. His service included readings and carols for Christmas, and was offered as a prelude to the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass. It was adapted in 1918 by Dean Eric Milner-White for use at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, England. The BBC began broadcasting this service nationally in 1928. Today, it has been broadcast internationally for more than seventy- five years and is among the most popular and widely heard church services in the world.

In 1934, Dean Milner-White created A Procession with Carols on Advent Sunday for use at King’s, basing it on his earlier Lessons and Carols for Christmas. In his preface to this new service, Milner-White wrote: “In the old English liturgies, the Advent Offices made a preparation for the coming of our Lord to this earth far more vivid and eager than those of our present Prayer Book. The purpose of the service is “not to celebrate Christmas, but to expect it.”  

Sunday’s service is filled with gorgeous choral works, readings chosen to prepare you for the coming of Christ, and many carols for you to contribute your vocal gift to the glory of God. An offering will be received to benefit Prevention Point Philadelphia, an organization committed to helping drug addicted people in Philadelphia and the surrounding area.