Friday 15 December 2006

St George's Chapel Christmas Service

I heard the voices of angels singing this morning. Promise!

Sebastian's school is also the choir school for St. George's Chapel which is inside the grounds of Windsor Castle and is the burial place of King Henry VIII, one of his wives, Jane Seymour, and many other monarchs and historical figures. The first thing that strikes you are the 400 or so odd steps that you must climb up the side of the hill to get to the chapel. It is a strak reminder that this iss a fortified royal palace still today (ok, if you don't count the partygoer who snuck in to Prince William's birthday party a few years back up these very steps!).

The chapel itself is stunning both inside and out. You almost feel like you've stepped on to a Hollywood film set. But this is so very real! We have the privilege every year of hearing the choir sing and never is it as special as it is at Christmas. The Choir sang both the Nightingale Carol and the Sussex Carol and it was so sweet. They work very hard for this performance and it was reflected in the exquisite display they put on this morning.

I may be a bit partial but the sweetest sounds heard this morning were from the Pre-Prep (Reception-Year 2) which obviously included Sebastian as they sang the first verse of Away in A Manger. Of course, they were a bit ahead of the organ but who cares? They sang professionally and with great care and attention.

One of my favourite moments in the service is when the 3 wee wise men present their gifts to the clergy whilst the congregation sing We Three Kings of Orient Are. These wise men are very serious and you can tell that they practised very hard to take on this bit of theatrical performance.

The Bidding at the beginning of the service contained a solid piece of advice, regardless of your faith or lack thereof. The Right Reverend reminded us to "let it be our care and delight to pause a while, and to wonder in this ancient place at the mighty works of God;" if your God is nature itself or a heavenly being watching over us, it is wondrous indeed.

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