It's a busy time of year for everyone.
I missed the ECP's Lessons and Carols last Sunday night because of the Natalie Merchant concert, which was a lesson in itself. And certainly a very good time.
Like Vacation Bible School, "Lessons and Carols" is a suitcase event, a predetermined program that just about anyone can implement. So my own parish put one on last night. In the absence of any alternative, the program is very welcome, indeed. But for the past two years the diocese has held increasingly successful Christmas Carol Festivals. There's no reason to reinvent the wheel, rather use a package deal whenever possible. But I can't understand favoring something Anglican and mainline Protestant over a very similar thing that's diocesan and even homegrown.
The St. Joseph singers had decent voices that were too few in number to fill the church. Granted, their collective sound was better than any of them solo, but another twenty would have sounded better. Three hymns appeared in full in the pamphlet under the heading "ALL," strongly suggesting these were to be sung communally. A woman seated behind me did just that and had an excellent voice. A gentleman seated ahead of me kept glancing back at her with a puzzled look, then whispered something to his companion.
I brought my Bible to the Lessons and Carols in order to follow along with the Scripture readings. Fortunately, I brought the "correct" version as I was able to follow word-for-sacred-word in the ESV I had. Some programs suggests drawing passages from various English translations but the many that stick with just one usually choose the ESV. The final reading was John's Prologue and all the lectors joined in together, so I also read along aloud. It was nice and nearly got to me.