Outside the Pennington Presbyterian Church, the ground glistened and shone with a fresh coating of snow. On the inside, a warm holiday spirit filled the air during the annual Service of Lessons and Carols on December 18.
The service invites Pennington community members to listen to scripture and other readings with music for Advent and Christmas presented by student vocal and instrumental ensembles. Readers comprised Upper and Middle School students and faculty. The congregation joined in singing several familiar carols, and the Middle School Singers, Upper School Chorus, and Pennington Singers provided other choral selections including "The First Noel/Pachelbel's Canon" and "Do You Hear What I Hear?"
Student instrumentalists in a variety of small ensembles provided special music, with a Wind Ensemble playing the prelude, a String Ensemble providing the offertory music, and the Rock Ensemble ending the service with a postlude. In addition, a Brass Ensemble added festive flair to some of the congregational carols.
The theme for this service was "Celebrate the Newness in HOPE." School Chaplain David Hallgren focused his homily on time and presence. He said that, as a society, we are always trying to create more time or rush to complete tasks. Trying to add more hours in the day is waiting for a miracle, he said; it is important to embrace and enjoy the presence of our family and friends during the holiday season.
At the end of the evening, students and parents in attendance returned to the campus for a reception in the Dining Hall.