Williamsburg Presbyterian Church will host a Service of Lessons and Carols on Friday, November 30, at 7:00pm, using music and scripture to re-tell the Christmas story, from the Creation to the birth of Jesus, filled with prophecies, promises of a redeemer, the miraculous birth, and the familiar stories of shepherds and wise men.
King's College, Cambridge, held its first Festival of Lessons and Carols just a month after the end of World War I in 1918, making this the centennial anniversary. The College had lost a quarter of its population in the war, and the dean of the College, Eric Milner-White, had served as an army chaplain on the Western Front. He put together the Festival as a service of healing in response to the losses and horrors of the war. King's College has presented a Festival of Lessons and Carols every year since 1918, and their service is broadcast worldwide every Christmas Eve. In Cambridge today, people start to line up two days in advance, often in the snow, to see the festival live.
Williamsburg Presbyterian Church is excited to continue this tradition on the hundredth anniversary with the same format as King's College's, with nine lessons, each followed by a carol or hymn. The King's College service traditionally starts with "Once in Royal David's City" and ends with "Joy to the World," and those traditions will be observed as well. Three outstanding William & Mary groups will participate: the Women's Choir; Common Ground, a group of women a-cappella singers; and the Westminster Ringers, a student handbell choir.
Coming soon after the worldwide observation of the centennial of Armistice Day, attendees of this Williamsburg Festival of Lessons and Carols can once again reflect on the story of hope and possibility, one that resounds in times of loss and war and in the face of challenges. It's the story that says God once appeared on earth, and can again.
The event is open to all at no charge. Williamsburg Presbyterian Church is located at 215 Richmond Road, across from the College of William & Mary. Please visit the website for more information at mywpc.org.
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