Last night at the church I attend here in Venice (St. Georges Anglican), they held a traditional carol service. Over the past several months they have had many traditional services that I have never experienced in the US. Part of the reason is because I am not Anglican in the US and part of the reason, I think, is that we have lost alot of the formality and reverance in our Protestant churches back home.
The Carol Service included the traditional 9 lessons and some carols/hymns in between all telling the story of Christmas. There was a girls choir who came from the UK to help out. The 9 lessons start in Genesis and end in John and give a brief synopsis of mankind and the birth of the Savior. I never thought the Bible could be summarized in 9 lessons but it can be! And it is done quite well.
I was asked to read one of the lessons which was truly and honor for me. Not being at home or near my family and friends for the holidays makes me appreciate life even more. Being blessed by having new friends in Venice and a great church to attend brightens the season in my eyes.
On Christmas Eve, they are having the traditional Christingle service (another one I have yet to attend) which is a service for families including carols and the blessing of the stable and the Christmas tree. That will be at 5pm. Then I will have dinner with some new friends and we will all attend the midnight mass at St. Marks Basilica at 1130pm!! On Christmas Day, St. Georges will celebrate the Holy Eucharist (Communion as we sometimes call it) of the Nativity of the Lord. What a glorious season and I wish you all the blessings of this tremendous day!