In 1918, the first ‘Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols’ was held at King’s College Chapel in Cambridge on Christmas Eve. Since 1928, the service has been broadcast every year on the BBC and has become something of a national past-time in England. They even broadcasted it during World War II, when all of the glass had been removed from the chapel to keep it safe from air raids. The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is now one of the most famous Christmas Eve services in the world, and is modeled by churches and chapels across the globe (and at Baylor in Brooks College Chapel).
So, yesterday morning we woke early to a very cold wintry day in order to join the line of people waiting outside the chapel for the 3pm carol service. We put on layer after layer of clothing…. warm stuff, North Face stuff, serious cold gear. But when you’re just sitting in a camping chair for five hours in the freezing cold, it doesn’t matter how many layers you have on, you’re going to freeze!
Thankfully, I had brought a backup plan for Candice. Just in case her many layers weren’t enough to fight the cold, I brought a mummy sleeping bag to encase her in a cocoon of warmth. [The sun had just started to hit the chapel in the background, making it glow beautifully :).]
The fun thing about this was that every time someone walked by our little huddle, they did a double-take (or stared outright) back at Candice. One time, an old lady walked by and laughed, and then she came back a couple of minutes later with a camera so she could take a picture of Candice in the mummy bag… I can only assume she wanted the picture to make notes on what she would do next year. :) Those people may have laughed when they first saw the mummy bag, but I guarantee you that they weren’t laughing after they had been standing in the cold for 5 hours, cursing themselves for not bringing their own mummy bags. :)
Luckily, we were joined by our two friends, Nicki and Eric, so we were able to take the cold weather in shifts a little bit… we went to eat lunch at subway while they held our place in line, and vice versa.
So at 1:30, they let everyone in to be seated, and even though it’s still very cold inside the chapel (it’s just stone and glass, after all), it was loads better than sitting outside.
The service was beautiful, very beautiful. I’ll never forget it. I think this was one of those things that would be on my list of ‘things to do before I die’…… check.
Later in the evening, several people came over to have Christmas Eve stew, candied pecans, eggnog, and sugar cookies. Here’s the finished product on the decorating… mine’s in the lower right… he’s a gangsta snowman who took three shots to the chest. Candice’s is in the middle on top, she’s the alien snow-woman who shot my snowman.
There’s also a cookie for the baby, which we put a ‘J’ on just to intrigue those who might be trying to guess our baby’s name (hint: the ‘J’ stands for ‘Jabar’) (another hint: stop trying to guess, we don’t have a name yet).
Merry Christmas, everyone! We missed you all today. We’ll tell you about Christmas day tomorrow. We’re sleepy.