Although my old Anglican prayer book lists, “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear,” as a hymn “For Our Country and for Peace,” to many of us it is a beloved Christmas carol.
I am always guilty of a sardonic smile, however, when I hear the lines, “And ever o’er (earth’s) Babel sounds the blessed angels sing.” I think to myself, “Really, Reverend E. H. Sears? I know that when you wrote this in 1849, your country was edging towards civil war and industrialization was literally gathering steam, but you should try living in 2018! We are so bamboozled by questionable technology, chronic consumerism and an inescapable bombardment of dire political and environmental news that even thinking is difficult, let alone trying to tune into the eternal love song. Do you know, Reverend Sears, that I walked by a store with a large banner proclaiming ‘Find Christmas Here’? Good grief, you had it easy!”
Now, I’m really not mean enough to want to drag some innocent 19th-century soul into our own troubled era, but perhaps you would like the opportunity to experience a Christmas tradition that began in Victorian times and was popularized by King’s College, Cambridge? On Sunday, Dec. 16 at 3 p.m., All Saints’ Anglican Church on 27th Street, Vernon will be holding its annual Festival of Lessons and Carols. Through Bible readings, carols and anthems, the service tells the story of humanity’s estrangement from God, the promise that the separation will be healed, and the birth of a saviour in a lowly, cattle shed. Our service begins and ends with candlelight, a poignant reminder that no matter how vast and all-encompassing the darkness appears to be, it can be dispelled by one tiny flame of love.
So, come step away, momentarily, from the weary world and hear “That glorious song of old.” Oh, and after your spirit has hopefully been nourished, it will be our great pleasure to offer your body some traditional Christmas sustenance in All Saints’ newly renovated church hall.