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The 10th Annual Service of Advent Lessons and Carols at St. Philip Neri Church, 292 Munn Road in Fort Mill, will feature the Adult Choir, Handbell Ensemble, Rejoice Youth Sing and Ring Choir, brass and organ as we listen to the events and Scripture leading up to the birth of the Messiah.

The event is free and open to everyone; light refreshments will be served. Read some of the history below!

The gift of the Liturgy of Lessons and Carols has been passed down for over 100 years, beginning in 1880 as a way for future Archbishop of Canterbury Edward White Benson to herd parishioners away from the pubs on Christmas Eve. However, on a theological level, this compilation of music and readings sought to offer hope through the prophetic story of Christ’s coming.

Although it originated as an English tradition, Lessons and Carols has become a widespread celebration for Catholics and Protestants alike. Because this liturgy takes place outside of the eucharistic celebration of the Mass, it allows for the full and active participation of every congregation. Generally, Lessons and Carols is separated into nine parts, beginning with Old Testament Scriptures that point to the hope of a coming Messiah. The liturgy concludes with Gospel passages that demonstrates the Old Testament’s prophetic fulfillment.

There is hardly a lack of Christmas music this time of year, but the beauty of Lessons and Carols lies in the fact this music dramatically demonstrates the beauty of the wisdom within these Scripture passages. While we may not need to be herded away from the pubs as we did in 1880, we are still in need of a shepherd’s crook to pull us away from the secular consumerism, and back into the mystery of Christ’s Incarnation.

St. Phillip Neri’s Lessons and Carols will last about an hour and will conclude with light refreshments. The liturgy will be celebrated with the aid of the Adult Choir, Rejoice Youth Sing and Ring Choir, the Handbell Ensemble, and a Brass Quintet. This will be the 10th year the parish has offered this liturgical celebration as we prepare ourselves for Christ’s coming.

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