This year marks the 51st anniversary of one of Advent Episcopal School's most beloved and strongest traditions: The Festival of Lessons and Carols. Over the years, all members of our school community—students, parents, grandparents, alumni, and friends of the school—come together to reconnect during this festive time. The tradition of Lessons & Carols is the perfect way to kick off the Christmas season and a great chance to visit with your Advent family!
The Advent tradition of Lessons & Carols stems from the very first Festival of Lessons and Carols that was held on Christmas Eve in 1918 in the chapel of King's College in Cambridge, England. It was planned by the Dean of the chapel, The Reverend Eric Milner-White. A revision of the Order of Service was made in 1919, involving the rearrangement of the lessons, and from this date on, the service has always begun with the hymn Once in Royal David's City.
In keeping with tradition, our service starts in silence as the voice of the single soloist sings the first verse of Once in Royal David’s City. As the congregation joins in together to sing the remaining verses, a powerful moment sets the tone for the remainder of the service. In addition to this Anglican tradition, Advent's Festival of Lessons and Carols has a unique tradition of its own. Each year, students and alumni join together to sing O, Holy Night in French. With all students learning French at Advent, this carol is particularly powerful and demonstrates the continuity of experience between our alumni and current students.
Whether it’s your 51st year of Lessons & Carols or your very first, we would love for you to join us at one of our three services this year and make the Advent Lessons & Carols a part of your Christmas traditions.