Monday, December 25, 2006

Lessons and Carols from Cambridge
Maimon Schwarzschild

Here is this year's Service of Lessons and Carols from King's College, Cambridge.  And here is the full text, in an elegant service booklet from King's.  This carol service is one of the most attractive Christmas events in England.

There is nothing like it in the canonical Christian liturgy, of course. "Nine Lessons and Carols" was invented in Cambridge in the 1920s, in the aftershock of the First World War. It is a British phenomenon as much as a Christian one. But these services now are held in Anglican churches everywhere in what had been the Empire.  I have been to many in England over the years, as well as in outposts of former empire - once in a whitewashed Anglican chapel on Eleuthera, in the out islands of the Bahamas. They all follow the King's, Cambridge, pattern more or less to the letter.

Here endeth today's dose of nostalgia for the British Empire.  But listen to the music: it's quite lovely.

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Maimon Schwarzschild