We welcome you to the Hope United Methodist Church’s Annual Festival of Lessons and Carols, a program of scriptures and music, which is based on a service first held at King’s College, Cambridge, England, on Christmas Eve in 1918. A revision of the Order of Service was made in 1919, involving rearrangement of the lessons. The backbone of the service, the lessons and the prayers, has remained virtually unchanged since then. The carols do change every year, although the service has always begun with the hymn Once in Royal David’s City, and closes with congregational singing of O Come All Ye Faithful and Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Interest in the service grew in the 1930s, when the BBC began broadcasting this Christmas Eve service, a tradition that continues to this day. Many churches have adapted the service for their own use, and “Lessons and Carols” continue to be celebrated around the world.
The nine lessons we hear today are from the New International Version Bible. The carols comprise a mixture of familiar and new settings of traditional and ancient hymns. We invite you to join in singing of the hymns that are noted in this program. A Hope tradition is to end our service with the Hallelujah Chorus. If you’d like to sing with us, please join the choir at the front of the sanctuary during the singing of Hark the Herald Angels, and music will be provided.