St. Paul’s announces Advent, Christmas services

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St. Paul's Lutheran Church sanctuary (Emily Trahan)

CULLMAN, Ala. – As in years past, the Advent Season will be highlighted at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church during weekly evening prayer services held every Wednesday night at 6 p.m. The focus of the readings will be chapters 47, 48 and 49 from the prophecy of Isaiah.

St. Paul’s Christmas Eve services are scheduled for 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. The service of lessons and carols will begin at 6 p.m. and feature talents and voices from Sunday school students, members of the Senior Choir, the Hand Bell Choir and a chamber ensemble from St. Paul’s and the community featuring woodwinds, brass and percussion. The 11 p.m. service will feature carols and candlelight in the Divine Service. Divine Service will begin at 9 a.m. Christmas morning.

The development of Christmas carols, as we know them today, came over the course of centuries. As early as the 15th century, the “Quempas Carol” was one such carol which found favor particularly within the Lutheran tradition.

The title alludes to the account of the angels’ annunciation of Jesus’ birth (from Latin, “Quem pastores laudavere,” tr. “He whom shepherds praised”). The lyrics are in the form of a report from the shepherds telling those who they encounter what they had seen and heard, and they follow a cycle of three distinct musical sections. The “Quempas Carol” has become a treasured aspect of St. Paul’s Christmas Eve services in the last few years and will again be featured.

Traditionally, the first section is sung antiphonally by four small choirs spread throughout the church. This represents the spread of the four Gospels of Jesus Christ into the four corners of the world. The middle section is sung by a larger, central choir, and features the account from the shepherds’ perspective. The final section often features the youngest children and even the congregation with the main proclamation and its significance: “God’s own Son is born a child! God the Father is reconciled!”

All are welcome to join in these celebrations. These services will be enriched by our choirs and musicians from St. Paul’s.

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church is located at 513 Fourth Ave. SE in Cullman. Find out more at www.stpaulsl.com.