One of the my favorite traditions is all the great choral liturgies sung at this time of year: the Advent Processional, the Great Litany, and the service of Lesson and Carols. And Christmastide end in the Epiphany Processional.
Here’s an article on how Bishop Edward White Benson and Truro Cathedral created the beloved Service of Lessons and Carols back in the 1800s.
In a few hours I’ll be going to church in Manhattan to hear our own service of lessons and carols.
The bidding prayer:
Beloved in Christ, be it this Christmastide our care and delight to hear again the message of the angels, and
in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass, and the Babe
lying in a manger.
Therefore let us read and mark in Holy Scripture the tale of the loving purposes of God from the first days of
our disobedience unto the glorious Redemption brought us by this Holy Child.
But first, let us pray for the needs of the whole world; for peace on earth and goodwill among all his people;
for unity and brotherhood within the Church he came to build, and especially in this city and diocese of New
And because this of all things would rejoice his heart, let us remember, in his name, the poor and helpless, the
cold, the hungry, and the oppressed; the sick and them that mourn, the lonely and the unloved, the aged and
the little children; all those who know not the Lord Jesus, or who love him not, or who by sin have grieved
his heart of love.
Lastly, let us remember before God all those who rejoice with us, but upon another shore, and in a greater
light, that multitude which no man can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh, and with whom in
the Lord Jesus we are for ever one.
These prayers and praises let us humbly offer up to the Throne of Heaven, in the words which Christ himself
hath taught us…