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Parish Reflections

Reflections on A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

Article posted: 22 Dec 2012

By Ruth Krause

Reflections on A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

The Season of Advent focuses on the impending arrival of The Messiah and the anticipation surrounding this awesome event. By acknowledging and preparing for this forthcoming miracle, the meaning of Chritsmas is enhanced and is the culmination of this longed-for time.The staging of A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols three weeks beforehand significantly embellishes this special period in the Church’s calendar. What, then, is it all about and what’s in it for the congregation and non- regular attendees?

In 1918, the end of World War 1 saw the inception of this soon-to-be much loved service, when a recently retired Army Chaplain felt that the then Church of England” needed more imaginative worship “. The service at St Paul’s featured nine significant readings, mainly from prophets, together with traditional carols for the congregation to sing. Those two aspects in themselves were thoroughly enjoyable but further adding to the appeal were the gifts of eight young singers (some of whom are regular worshippers) from various Brisbane choirs who, along with very experienced and talented accompanists, thrilled the assembled guests with their magical renditions. Spontaneous applause erupted, not the usual sort of response one expects in an Anglican church.

To conclude this very successful evening, guests were invited to stay afterwards to experience further conviviality by sipping sparkling wine and enjoying fruit mince pies under the fairylight festooned marquees in the courtyard. Like A Blue Christmas, A Festival of Nine Carols and Lessons was inaugurated last year by Father Cameron Freese in his vision to extend the ministry of St Paul’s by offering more than the standard services. Word must have spread, as this year, there was standing room only with the function being so well attended that it eclipsed last year’s Christmas Service attendance!

For me, the night was probably best summed up by my 85 year old friend, who, with sparkling eyes and fulsome praise, declared that it had been an extraordinary evening and that she had every intention of attending next year. I am confident that the children with such transfixed looks on their faces would have thought along similar lines. In short, these sentiments seemed to be echoed by all – get in early next year to ensure your place before the whole Samford Valley beats you to it!