2016 Advent reflections – based on Christmas carol service readings

Advent Course

This year we are exploring and expanding upon readings which may be suitable for a Lessons and Carols service. We’ll include readings from the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols and others which, to my mind, may get ignored as we seek to understand why God should send His Son to our world.

“A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols”, the so-called traditional service, is not that old – it’s less than a century ago when it was first created and used at King’s College, Cambridge.  Note that it is not primarily a carol service. Its full title should be used as a reminder that the Word comes first and the carols fill the spaces between the readings, and Once in Royal David’s City, to my mind not the greatest of carols, majoring as it does on speculation about the childhood of Jesus.  

Note also that the date of the Festival was Christmas Eve and not some time in early to mid December!  In a year when Christmas Day falls on a Sunday there can be quite a separation, if a carol service is held on the Sunday before, from the service and Christmas itself. Those who wish to celebrate or observe the Advent season in its fullness of four weeks as a preparation for Christmas may get short change when a Carol Service is placed too early.

From the Service: Let us read and mark in Holy Scripture the tale of the loving purposes of God from the first days of our disobedience unto the glorious Redemption brought us by this Holy Child.

I pray that over these weeks you will come to look beyond the Holy Child to the Son of God, who, in accordance with God’s loving purposes towards us, came to earth as a servant, offered himself as sacrifice, dies, was raised and is now glorified, and who will come again, as the Scriptures promise.

We have only one God, and he is the Father. He created everything, and we live for him. Jesus Christ is our only Lord. Everything was made by him, and by him life was given to us. 1 Corinthians 8:6