Yesterday at 9 AM (CST), you could have enjoyed a live broadcast of the 2021 version of the original “A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols” from King’s College, Cambridge, U.K., on KUCO (90.1 FM). The attendees of the 3 PM (Cambridge time) service begin a queue at 9 AM. The first Festival was in 1918, and some punsters believe that its original purpose was to lure men from pubs. Since 1919, the service’s initial hymn is, “Once in Royal David’s City”. The first verse is sung unaccompanied by a solo boy chorister who is not identified until immediately before the service to avoid putting him under undue stress. WWII did not cancel the festival, although the hostilities forced the removal of the glass windows and sources of heat. The story of humanity’s fall, the promise of the Messiah, and Jesus’ birth is told in nine Biblical readings interspersed with Christmas carols and hymns. The nine lessons are read, respectively, by: a chorister, a choral scholar, a representative of Cambridge churches, a representative of the City of Cambridge, a representative of King’s College’s sister college at Eton, the Chaplain, the Director of Music, a fellow of the College, and the College’s Provost.
~Dr. Gil Haas, Saint Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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