Thursday evening Nashotah House celebrated “Lessons and Carols” – a night of Advent music, readings, and prayers. Our bishop and dean, the Rt. Rev. Edward Salmon, officiated and led the packed-out chapel of St. Mary’s in worship. Canon Joseph Kucharski led the Nashotah House choral scholars in a beautiful performance of carols and canticles from G. Palestrina, R. Vaughan Williams, John Ireland, and others. The congregation joined in for hymns by Charles Wesley, Thomas Helmore, Charles Coffin, and Johann Olearius. Perhaps the highlight of the evening was the St. Mary’s children’s choir, cute-as-buttons in their red choir cassocks and surplices, singing praises. “From the mouths of babes” the Lord’s praises were echoed!
Scripture readings were interspersed throughout the service, reminding us of those oft-forgotten passages that bear so much significance for the lives of the faithful. In Genesis 3, the crushing of the serpent’s head is foretold. Isaiah 40 calls God’s people to be comforted and to “prepare the way of the Lord.” Matthew narrates the scene of a confused Joseph, confronted by an angel who brings the relieving news that “that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” St. Mark pictures John the Baptist proclaiming the imminent arrival of the one who will “baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Between the rich imagery of Scripture and the transcendent choral music, Lessons and Carols ushered us in to a place of prayer and meditation on the beauty of our God and his Incarnation. The story brings us simultaneously to a place of reflection and eager expectation.
We wait for thy loving kindness, O Lord.
In the midst of thy temple.