The First Presbyterian Church, 24th and Washington, will be celebrating Christmas Eve with the Festival of Lessons and Carols at 7 p.m. tonight. The public is welcome.
The Festival of Lessons and Carols is a format for a service of Christian worship celebrating the birth of Jesus that is traditionally followed at Christmas. The story of the fall of humanity, the promise of the Messiah, and the birth of Jesus is told in several short Bible readings from Genesis, the prophetic books and the Gospels, interspersed with the singing of Christmas carols, hymns and choir music.
The format was based on an Order drawn up by Edward White Benson, later Archbishop of Canterbury but at that time Bishop of Truro, in Cornwall, for use on Christmas Eve (24 December) 1880. Tradition says that he organized a 10 p.m. service on Christmas Eve in a temporary wooden shed serving as his cathedral and that a key purpose of the service was to keep men out of pubs on Christmas Eve.
The original liturgy has since been adapted and used by other churches all over the world.