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Celebrating with song and scripture

essons and Carols service blends Bible readings with Christmas music

POSTED: December 22, 2011 1:00 a.m.

A holiday service steeped in history has found a home at First Presbyterian Church in Gainesville.

For the last 20 years, the church at 800 South Enota Drive has played host to "Lessons and Carols," a candlelit Christmas Eve Service. This year's service is set for 5 p.m. Saturday.

According to Michael Henry, First Presbyterian's director of music, Lessons is based on the service of scripture readings and music that originated at King's College in England in 1918.

Every year, the college holds "A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols," which has been broadcast on radio, and later television, since 1928.

"The format is essentially the same here in Gainesville as it is at King's," Henry said.

"However, we do feature some music that one would not hear at King's, which is predominantly music by British composers.

"Like our British counterparts, we use children, youth and adults in reading the nine lessons from both the Old and New Testaments."

The music varies from year to year, but the lessons are always the same, Henry said.

Over its 20-year history, Lessons and Carols has become a popular service for the First Presbyterian family and community at large, Henry said.

The evening service is just one of several that the church will hold on Christmas Eve. At 1:30 p.m., the church will hold a service for families with young children and at 11 p.m., it will offer a candlelight communion.



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