The Christmas trees are up and the fourth Advent Candle lit here at Guildford Cathedral – signifying the fact that Christmas will soon be here as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, God with us.
Carols and readings filled Guildford Cathedral during the annual Nine Lessons And Carols on Sunday evening (20 December). The annual service is an atmospheric telling of the familiar Christmas story in words and music, prayer and silence.
The Cathedral was packed as a choir of 50, comprising the boy and girl choristers and lay clerks led the congregation in a variety of Christmas anthems and carols.
The service began with a solo treble voice singing ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ and drew to an end with the Alleluias of one of Poulenc’s Christmas Antiphons.
The congregation listened to some of the great Christmas choral classics from composers ranging from sixteenth century to contemporary including William Byrd and John Rutter.
The annual service is an atmospheric telling of the Christmas story in words and music, with eight lessons read by representatives of the Cathedral community, including children and adults, clergy and lay people.
And members of the congregation were full of praise as they left the service on Sunday evening.
Cathedral Precentor and Sub-dean, Nicholas Thistlethwaite said: ‘The Christmas Carol Service is very special. It is the beginning of our Cathedral celebration of Christmas as we prepare to welcome many hundreds of people to services over the next few days.
“There is much wonderful Christmas music telling the story of Jesus’s birth at Bethlehem and the welcome he received from shepherds, wise men and angels. We are fortunate to have a splendid choir whose music helps us all to recall what Christmas is really about.’
If you missed this one there’s a chance to join the Cathedral once again on Christmas Day at 4pm.