They start with a prelude of 15 minutes of Latin carols and harp music. And then the choir processes into the church while singing “Once in Royal David’s City.” It’s a wonderful moment as they pass by, carrying candles. You can hear each choir member’s voice strong and clear and beautiful.
The concert then continues with a mixture of carols and readings, some classic and some modern. And, while everyone loves the moment when the lights are dimmed and candles are carried throughout the church while the choir sings “Silent Night,” nothing is more beautiful to me than when the choir rises and processes through the church singing “O Come All Ye Faithful.” It is loud, it is bold, and it is beautiful and it makes me cry.
It’s wonderful to be in this spiritual setting the week before Christmas. For 2 hours you can relax and forget about shopping and wrapping, baking and cooking, and all the work that has to be done and instead just enjoy the music and glory of the season. I’m so glad we discovered this a few year’s back and I’m thrilled that it is now part of our annual Christmas celebration.
In closing, allow me to share my favorite reading from this year’s service. It is called “Christmas Poem” by Jim Strathdee.
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the magi and the shepherds have found their way home,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost and lonely one,
To heal the broken soul with love,
To feed the hungry children with warmth and good food,
To feel the earth below, the sky above!
To free the prisoner from all chains,
To make the powerful care,
To rebuild the nations with strength of good will,
To see God’s children everywhere!
To bring hope to every task you do,
To dance at a baby’s new birth,
To make music in an old person’s heart,
And to sing to the colors of the earth!