St. James Episcopal Church
Christmas is coming at us fast. Of course in the world's timetable it's been here since sometime in October and all it's really about big screen TVs, bright lights and "stuff." Even for those of us who know that there is a deeper reason for this season, sometimes it's hard to hold on against the tide of consumerism and glitz, to remember that before Christmas there is Advent, a time of waiting, a time to tell the story of He who is that comes, to remember why it is that God broke into history in that time and does so again and again. A time to remember that we too are called to be part of that Christmas story by putting our own faith in action by the way we keep Christmas. Perhaps instead of giving more "stuff" this year, we could opt for the gift of a contribution to an organization in someone's name. Or we might choose to help at one of the dinners providing food and fellowship to those in need of nourishment for body and soul as another way to put our faith in action during the Christmas season. Or we can join with friends and family at special Advent and Christmas worship services to help us slow down and quiet ourselves to recall the real story of Christmas.
At St. James, one such service is Nine Lessons and Carols. This annual tradition is special for us in many ways. It connects us with our Anglican roots, as it was first introduced by King's College in Oxford England in 1918. Adapted from an order of worship used on Christmas Eve in 1880, the lessons and prayers that tell the Christmas story have remained virtually unchanged since that time. The beautiful music weaves them together and further helps tell the story of the coming Christ child. Another thing that makes this service special for us at St. James is how inclusive our choir is. The choir for Lessons and Carols is made up of community members, choir folk from other churches and students from Southwest Minnesota State, all coming together to sing as a beautiful and concrete way to act on our faith in the true meaning of the season. We will also be joined this year by soloists mezzo soprano Emily Lodine of the vocal ensemble Conspirare, based in Austin, Texas, and tenor Russell Svenningson of SMSU. Anders Svenningson will sing the treble solo in the carol Once in Royal David's City that traditionally begins the service.
This year the Candlelight Service of Nine Lessons and Carols will be at 7 p.m. Sunday at St. James Episcopal Church, 101 N. 5th St. This lovely service creates a space in the busy days before Christmas to stop, listen and reflect on Who it is who comes.
We welcome all to join us.