Monday, December 24, 2007

Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

As regular visitors to the Breadbox know, we are not a religious family: we are not militant in atheism, merely unconvinced by any one of the many religions we see people practicing around the world.
LOML and I both grew up in England, however, which means that, going to state-run schools, we were exposed to daily hymns, prayers, etc in the school assemblies, and we sang in school choirs for Christmas concerts, played in orchestras for these events, etc.
I always love this time of the year: and not for the presents, or the endless "Silver Bells" and "White Christmas" (or heaven forfend "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer") on the radio: no, I love it for the traditional aspects: the tree, with handmade decorations (some, not all!), the feast, and most of all, the ceremonial aspects.
Probably my favourite ceremony is the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from Kings College, Cambridge, which we listened to this morning on the radio as we were baking cookies. Such beautiful, great soaring music! And the readings, redolent with history and tradition, in the language I heard them in as a child: post-Elizabethan (Stuart and Jacobian just don't sound quite right) English.
I can see how seductive this ceremony itself can be. At times like this, I could believe that I could want to believe.

But for now, our family's belief, publicly stated, at least around the sprogs, is that Santa brings the presents to good little girls and boys tonight!

Yours, steeped,

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