9 Lessons and Carols service at Durham Cathedral

On Christmas Eve we headed to the Cathedral for the Lessons and Carols service and as explained in the title, there were 9 lessons and carols. We decided to walk along the river. When we got to the river, we could hear the cathedral bells peeling. So for ten minutes we heard no birds or animals, but bells and the river. It was a lovely sound.

When we got into the cathedral, surprisingly we could hardly hear the bells. We heard voices and a beautiful organ. When we got seated, we had gotten there about a half hour before the service started and it was FULL! Apparently we were in for a great service. As the service started, we heard a single voice from the Cathedral’s children’s choir. Soon more voices followed and pretty soon, there was a choir of voices, their voices echoing off the huge arches and columns. At one point, I thought that the ceiling would crumble and the windows shatter from the echo. The lessons were each read by a representative of the schools or churches around Durham. The ninth lesson was from John’s gospel, revealing the mystery of Jesus’ birth, which was read by the Bishop. The last carol we sang was “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” ( We were pleased that it was in the same tune as the American version. Some carols here have different tunes.) At the last note, every voice in the choir and congregation were singing at their very loudest , and I half expected Jesus to come through the roof.

After the service, we drove across town to take communion at our church.  As we took communion at our Carrville church, as we headed home, as we went to bed, and as we feel asleep, the Christmas spirit was with us all. To wrap to this post up, I will quote Tiny Tim, “God bless us, everyone.”

Merry Christmas from Joshua



3 responses to “9 Lessons and Carols service at Durham Cathedral

  1. Joshua, your colorful and detailed description of the service of lessons and carols at Durham took me back to some of my very most favorite worship experiences in magnificent cathedrals in Englad, Europe and the U. S. All it takes for my spirit to be moved is to hear the strains of pipe organ and choristers lifting their voices in praise to our Almighty God. Thank you for sharing!

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