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Festival of Lessons and Carols


The Festival of Lessons and Carols is a service of Scripture and song that dates to the late 19th century.  In this service, we listen to nine Scripture lessons which recount the Fall, the promise of a Messiah, the Incarnation, and the Great Commission to preach the Good News.  Each lesson is followed by a carol or other song that reflects on the lesson's message and a brief prayer.

We invite you to pray and reflect along with these podcasts to prepare your hearts and minds for the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Opening Song: Once in Royal David's City

Opening Prayer

We gather here to recall the mystery of our  redemption.
Though sin drew us away from God, he never stopped loving us.
The prophets told of the coming of a Messiah
who would initiate a reign of justice and peace.
This promise was fulfilled in the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
Let us now reflect with joy on this wondrous mystery.

First Lesson 

ReadingGenesis 3:1-15
SongJesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

Lord of mercy,
despite our sinfulness,
you never stopped loving us.
Fill our hearts with your mercy,
that we may forgive others.

Second Lesson
Jeremiah 23:5-8

Song:  Reges  Terrae

you promised that your reign
would bring the justice
that would never end.
May we help to bring this justice in our time.

Third Lesson

ReadingIsaiah 11:1-10

Song: Creator of the Stars of Night

we wait for the day of your peace.
May we help to bring this peace
in our families, our communities, and our world.

Fourth Lesson
:  Isaiah 9:1-6

SongO Come, O Come Emmanuel


you are always with us.
May we always trust in your presence
and share it with those around us.

Fifth Lesson
:  Luke  1:26-38

Song:    Ave Maria

you asked Joseph and Mary to trust in you.
May we come to share in their trust
and always rely on you.

Sixth Lesson
:  Luke  2:1-18

Song:    Silent  Night

you came to us in humility and vulnerability.
May we always show loving care to those around us,
especially those in most need.

Seventh Lesson
:  Matthew 2:1-12

Song:    We  Three Kings

you are the giver of all good gifts.
May we always remember to share our gifts with others
for the glory of your name.

Eighth Lesson
:  John  1:1-14

Song:    Verbum Caro Factus Est

God of power and might,
you are beyond all time and space.
May we never fail to recognize your majesty
and give praise to you in all we do.

Ninth Lesson
:  Matthew 28:16-20

Song:    Go  Tell It on the Mountain

you call us to be your witnesses
to the ends of the earth.
Fill our words with power
that we may proclaim your good news
and draw all people to you.

Closing Song:    Joy  to the World


Scripture texts in this  work are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament ©  1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.  and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part  of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without  permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Recordings of the carols are provided through the generosity of the following:

Oregon Catholic Press, 5536 NE Hassalo, Portland, OR 97213,
From the collection Sing  We Now of Christmas by Christopher Willcock:
“Go Tell It on the Mountain”
“Joy to World”
“Once in Royal David’s City”
“We Three Kings”

Basilica of the  National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 401 Michigan Avenue NE,  Washington, DC 20017,
Choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Peter Latona, conductor
Copyright National Shrine.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.

From the collection Christmas  at Mary’s Shrine 2008:
Reges terrae

From the collection Christmas  at Mary’s Shrine 2007:
“Silent Night”
Verbum caro factus  est

From the collection Christmas  at Mary’s Shrine 2006:
“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”
“O Come, O Come Emmanuel”

GIA Publications,  Inc., 7404 South Mason Avenue, Chicago, IL 60638,
  From the collection Night  of Silence by Marty Haugen:
“Creator of the Stars of Night”
From the collection Catholic  Classics, volume 6: Catholic Marian Classics by Richard Proulx:
“Ave Maria” (Schubert)

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