Some Thoughts after Nine Lessons and Carols, with Apology for Rambling

RICHARD LEE
MC ’14
Executive Director, Logos

I don’t always visit Battell Chapel, but when I did, I was almost overcome with emotions at the Nine Lessons and Carols Service. This service, originally conceived at the King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, has been (at least during my three year at Yale) a regularity attended by many students and University faculties. If you have never been to this service before, I strongly implore you to do so next year, or watch the Cambridge live broadcast on BBC.

The lessons tracing mankind’s salvific history from the Fall to the Patriarchs to the Prophets to Christ were well structured. I was particularly moved by the reading of John 1 in the darkened chapel lit only by candles, and the singing of O, Come All Ye Faithful.

Sitting in the pew and pondering on the mystery of Incarnation, the verse “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient o the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:6-8) came to mind. Unlike other religions’ solution to evil, Christianity’s solution is that God took the initiative. Out of love, God came down to the earth and became one of us. This thought was deeply humbling, for what have I done to deserve this? For our sake, God is with us in this world of darkness, conceit, and despair. Yet our response to Christ has often been disobedience and nonchalance. Though God is merciful and gracious, we cannot presume upon God’s mercy and grace to use our heart as a factory of idols instead of offering our heart to God. God is patient, because He wants us to give us time to repent so that none would perish until the revealing of God’s righteous judgment (cf. Rom. 2:4-5, I Pet. 3:9-10).

Rev. Ian Oliver prayed that God would “come to even the lowest of all places, maybe even into our hearts.” I pray that God will come into our hearts, so that we may cast away the works of darkness, but put on the armor of light, so we may be prepared for the day of Christ’s return.

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