Lessons and Carols Lessons and Carols Lessons and Carols

Nine Lessons and Carols, also known as the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols and Service of Nine Lessons and Carols, is a service of Christian worship traditionally celebrated on or near Christmas Eve. The story of the fall of humanity, the promise of the Messiah, and the birth of Jesus is told in nine short Biblereadings or lessons from Genesis, the prophetic books and the Gospels, interspersed with the singing of Christmas carols, hymns and choir anthems.


Bishop Benson was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 1883, and the Nine Lessons service began to gain in popularity across the Church of Englandand the wider Anglican Communion, as well as Roman Catholic churches in England and Wales. The original liturgy has since been adapted and used by other churches all over the world, particularly in English-speaking countries. Lessons and Carols most often occur in Anglican churches. However, numerous Christian denominations have adopted the service, or a variation of it, as part of their Christmas celebrations. In the UK, the service has become the standard format for school carol services.

Service Art: 

Image 1: St. George's School from Newport, RI

Image 2:  Dove of Peace by donsutherland1, Creative Commons  

Image 3: Duccio, di Buoninsegna, 1319 vanderbilt