“I look from afar,” the officiant said as Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary began its annual service of Advent Lessons and Carols. “And lo, I see the power of God coming and a cloud covering the whole earth,” the 76 worshippers and musicians responded. In so doing they were literally “setting the tone” for the service which seeks to turn our attention away from all the ordinary holiday preparations and frustrations of the season and refocus them on the coming of our Lord, both in His incarnation and in His glory.
The lessons, read by members of the seminary community, were interspersed with selections of Advent music sung by a cantor, the Seminary Choir, the choir of Resurrection Lutheran Church, St. Catharines, and the assembled worshippers. Violin, brass, and even a few bells accompanied the hymns. The high point of the service is the Gospel read from the altar by the presiding minister, Dr John Stephenson this year, followed by the collect for Christmas Eve.
Although the emphasis is on awaiting Christ’s coming, the closing responsory also called for other actions from His people: “Stand still, and you shall see the salvation of the Lord,” may have been yet another reminder neither to rush the Christmas celebrations nor to overlook the real reason for this season. And the worshippers’ response reminded us that God does not lose sight of us, either, in this holiday season: “Tomorrow, go forth, and the Lord, He will be with you.”
Special thanks to all who participated and attended in person and to the many people who tuned in to the live-stream broadcast. If you missed it, you can still enjoy it by clicking on this link: https://new.livestream.com/accounts/771825/events/1690201 (available until 20/12/12)–and make sure to put in on your calendar for next year (either the first or second Sunday in Advent, TBC).
Blessed Advent and Christmas to all!