This week, on the third Sunday of Advent, we will hold our carol service--or as it is formally known, the service of "Nine Lessons and Carols".
The lessons are short readings beginning in Genesis with the story of Adam and Eve and their fall from grace. It continues through the promise of the Messiah and then tells the gospel story of the birth of Christ. Between each reading there is a carol--well known and well loved music.
The service was first celebrated in 1880, the brainchild of the Bishop of Truro. Legend has it that he wanted something to keep the parishioners out of the pubs on Christmas Eve before the midnight service. There's no record on how successful--or otherwise-- this strategy proved to be!
The most famous version of the service has been broadcast every year since 1928 by the choir of Kings College, Cambridge. Today it is open to the public--but you have to line up early on Christmas Eve and hope that you are able to secure one of the coveted tickets. There's a strict one per customer limit and only 500 available. Imagine, in this secular age, people lining up for hours to attend a church service!
But fear not! On December 16th, at 10:30 a.m., you will be able to participate in St. Oswald's own version of Lessons and Carols...and you won't have to queue up! Do come and join us.