No matter the stores have been selling the holiday for weeks now,
tonight officially began the Christmas season for me.
We attended the meditative and beautiful Candlelight Advent service
at our local college, Southwestern University.
Advent is the season of anticipation and preparation leading up to Christmas Day.
The glorious mood I brought home afterwards made me turn on my lights and the fireplace,
despite it being 60 degrees outside.
The annual Candlelight Service is held in the same chapel where it began in 1915,
almost 100 years ago.
This program is based on a advent service developed in 1934 for the Chapel of King's College, Cambridge, England. Scripture readings intertwine with musical selections.
A Felix Mendelssohn prelude by violins, viola and cello hushed the awaiting crowd.
In the college choir, the women are on one side facing the men the other, profiles to us in the pews. The chapel's amazing acoustics seem to take these pure and clear young voices and blend and lift them soaring high into the arched rafters then waft them outward toward all of us seated beyond, letting them swirl around each enthralled listener. Only a few of the selections included the organ with its walls of towering pipes; rather most of the songs were accapella, moving our hearts with crystal clear harmonies. Many of the ancient numbers were in Latin which actually enhanced the sound since the words didn't distract.
At one point I closed my eyes and could easily imagine that the heavenly choir of angels that lit up the night sky above that hillside in Bethlehem might sound just like this.
We ended in darkness save the lights of each person's small candle as the choir members recessed down the aisle, faces bright in the small flickering lights.
We all joined them singing "Hark the Herald Angels".
Oh, that I could send just a taste of this lovely evening to you in this little blog.
Even Scrooge could not remain untouched after such a performance.