The Advent tradition of a church service of Christmas-based readings (or Lessons) and carols goes back to 19th-century England, and combines exquisitely-sung choral music, contemplative prose and a pre-Christmas meditation. It’s an annual event at Tacoma’s Christ Episcopal Church, where the able choir is backed by the church’s wonderful Brombaugh organ and excellent acoustics for a serene, light-filled experience – and it’s on again this Sunday evening.
Most famous of all is the service of lessons and carols at King’s College, Cambridge, which has been going every year since 1928 and broadcast around the world. But tradition has it that the service began in Cornwall decades earlier, held at 10 p.m. in a wooden hut on Christmas Eve in an attempt to keep men out of the pubs for that night.
Christ Episcopal’s service “Toward the Light” features music by Peter Aston, David Ashley White, Sidney Campbell, C. Hubert H. Parry and Philip Stopford, with solo works played by music co-director Mark Brombaugh. There will be the usual audience-sung hymns, as well as scripture and poetry readings.
Service of Lessons and Carols will be at 5 p.m. Dec. 11. Free (voluntary donation). Christ Episcopal Church, 310 N. K St., Tacoma. 253-383-1569, www.ccptacoma.org