The Procession with Carols on Advent Sunday originated at King’s College, Cambridge, England in 1934, composed by Dean Eric Milner-White (who had also been responsible nine years earlier for the more widely known Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols for Christmas Eve). In his Preface to the Advent Sunday service, Dean Milner-White wrote: ‘In the old English liturgies, the Advent Offices made a preparation for the coming of our Lord to this earth far more vivid and eager than those of our present  Prayer Book. So an Advent Carol Service, if without precedent, is not without suitability, if it helps to express “the desire of all nations and ages.”‘ The purpose of the service is ‘not to celebrate Christmas, but to expect it.’
The progression of the choir, starting in darkness at the back of the church and ending in brilliant light at the High Altar, symbolizes the movement from the prophetic expectation of Messiah to the very brink of messianic fulfillment, both in the birth of the Son of God and his final coming in judgment and glory. We are bidden to awake and to watch, to prepare and to expect, for our God will come and save us, and deliver us from the bondage of sin and death, and bring us into the radiance of his kingdom of glory.
The St. Thomas’ Parish Choir will be directed by Dr. Giles Brightwell, and the organ will be played by Professor Neil Weston (Director of Choral Activities, George Washington University, Washington DC).
Post expires at 11:13pm on Sunday December 8th, 2013