The Cathedral of St. Philip - Atlanta, GA

Advent Lessons and Carols

Sunday, December 2
4 p.m.

On Sunday, December 2, at 4 p.m., the Cathedral will offer its annual Advent Procession of Lessons and Carols, sung by the Cathedral Choir. Those who have attended this candlelight service in past years know what a perfect opportunity it is to step back from the hectic pace of the post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas season, and take a few moments to contemplate its real meaning.

The singing of carols within the context of Anglican and Episcopal liturgies is a relatively recent phenomenon. Across the pond, it was only in the 1870s that carols began to be sung in London parish churches, and in 1880 Truro became the first English cathedral to hold a carol service. Our two services of Lessons and Carols (for Advent on December 2, and for Christmas on December 23) are adapted from the famous carol service at King’s College, Cambridge, which has become popular worldwide since World War II through annual radio broadcasts on Christmas Eve. For our Advent service we include the ancient “O Antiphons”, one after each of the seven lessons. These Christian texts invoke the Messiah to return and have been sung through the ages at Vespers on the seven evenings leading up to Christmas, and each is sung to equally ancient and beautiful plainchant. Whether you best sense the eternal through timeless chant, or wonderful choral music, or popular carols sung by all, there is something for everyone in this service. Why not practice a “random act of kindness” and make the service a gift to someone this year by inviting them to attend? It may turn out to be one of the best gifts you give.