A Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols: The Centenary Service

A Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols: The Centenary Service


There’s nothing anywhere quite like King’s
at Christmas and there never will be. The capacity of this particular service from this particular place at this particular time to speak to people is beyond our imagination
now but we know it’s real and we know it’s important. I really like it in the morning
when I get up, when we go past the queue. There must be just about as much competition
for tickets as for the cup final. People wouldn’t queue through the night otherwise. The capacity of this particular service to communicate through the medium of radio is just extraordinary. And it was as if the whole business of the nation stopped at three o’clock on Christmas Eve and we were all gathered into one. “…espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary…” “…enquired of them diligently what time
the star appeared…” “…the spirit of wisdom and understanding…” “…and it came to pass as the angels were gone away from them into heaven…” “and remain with you always. Amen” Is that audible up there? Yes, well, yes, just about. There are so many people that
are just waiting for us to sing. When the red light starts flashing there are even more
all over the world listening. I always have an awe-struck admiration for that young fellow who has to start the whole thing off. Just a small card to say thank you so much from all at the BBC. Thank you, Philip, thank you very much. Well of course for many people,
Stephen Cleobury is ‘Mr. Christmas’ or ‘Sir Christmas’, dare I say! We used to say ‘Thank
you, Sir’ but after he got knighted we had a little saying ‘Thank you, Sir Sir’, or some
people said ‘Sir Squared’. It’s impossible really not to be in awe of what he has done for the occasion and therefore for choral music around the world. I for one on the occasions
I’ve been present go out walking on air. We are the hosts of something which is far bigger
than we are. Every detail matters, every member of the team is completely committed. Like the meaning of Christmas it’s something about all human beings being part of a community. It’s about a family, a very special family admittedly for Christians, but we can all relate to that story of a birth.

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