Friday, November 26, 2010

St. Paul's Cathedral, London

Although you no doubt realize that this is not Sunday, it is the day of the week when I usually write some sort of travel-related post. In keeping with that trend, I decided to write about St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

There are few things as thrilling as attending the First Sunday of Advent service at St. Paul's Cathedral in London, with my two daughters! 

We arrived at the west front of St. Pauls at 4:30 PM for the 6 PM service, and it was not a minute too soon! The lines became very long and I was glad we had arrived when we did. While we were waiting, we struck up a conversation with a student standing in line next to us, who just happened to be from...Appleton, WI.

 Evening at St. Pauls

Looking up at the interior of the dome

St. Paul's Cathedral - Under the Dome

We were seated in the 223 ft. long nave, just beyond the ticketed guests, so we were close enough and facing the Quire. (The green mark shows where we sat.) Guests were also seated in the north and south transepts. Just before the beginning of the service, lights were dimmed. At that moment, the whole congregation rose and turned to watch as the cantor began and the choir, with a processional cross in front, filed into the nave.

Choirboys, some of whom appeared no more than six years old, processed into the nave, carrying large candles. They stopped once for Scripture reading and anthems, then continued on to the 167 ft. long Quire.

 The beautiful quire at St. Paul's

View of the altar
Photo by Helen Devereaux

It's hard to describe how beautiful and meaningful the service was, reminding us all to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ. The Maker and Ruler of the Universe, our Only Hope for Salvation, left the glories of Heaven to become human and dwell among us. He came to rescue us, bearing our sins in His death on the Cross, satisfying God's justice - that those who trust in Him might live. What amazing grace!

I love to listen to the great cathedral choirs, but I think they can only give us a hint of what it must be like to hear the angels in Heaven singing praises to our risen Savior, God and King!

P.S. By the way, the day after tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent.
Note: All photos, unless otherwise indicated, were taken from St. Paul's Cathedral website and Wikipedia. They frowned on photo-taking inside the cathedral. :-)

Note: I just checked the outdoor thermometer. It's 8 degrees out there. My dog is lying in the snow and loving it! 

This post is linked to New Friend Fridays
and Friendly Friday Follow
and Friendly Friday 


Unknown said...

LOVE St. Paul's. Probably foremost because I am a Marry Poppins girl, and grew up singing "Feed the Births" It is a beautiful cathedral steeped in history. I think that is the most impressive part of Europe. We have beauty, just like they do, but it's the history of all the peole who have entered the doors of St. Pauls, or worn down the stone steps of Canterbury Cathedral, or who rest in Westminster Abbey. That is just so awe-inspiring. We are a bout 15 degrees warmer down here, but that's cold enough.

Stay warm! Gotta run to Thanksgiving #2 with Steve's family at noon! UGH! Oops! I didn't say that did I? My family's gathering was yesterday, and we were just with Steve's family on Sunday for his nephew's baptism on Sunday. I have Tink's friend birthday party here on Sunday, and would love to just STAY HOME! We could pull a medical excuse, Steve isn't feeling so good, but I think we are going to suck it up and head to Lafayette in a couple hours ! Points for family! ;-) Not so many good points for my diet! ;-(

partialemptynester said...

Oh, my jaws dropped immediately as I realized that you worshipped in this stunning cathedral on the first day of advent...what a glorious way to ring in the season...then chills crept up my arms as I imagined those darling little boys singing praises to our Lord...then your description of our Lord and Savior coming to rescue us just left me in grateful tears...oh, what a sacred season we are about to enter, thank you so much for this absolutely beautiful post!

partialemptynester said...

And oh my...8 DEGREES! A cold front blew in yesterday and today we are all atwitter about it being 45 degrees here, lol!!!

Lolly said...

I walked past St Paul's a couple of nights ago - on a frosty evening in November with the hustle and bustle and air of Christmas looming it just filled me with happy thoughts....oooh and we are frozen over here - possibly will see snow over the weekend....I'm not a fan so fingers crossed we won't.

J_on_tour said...

What a great moment. Looks like you managed to get the whole experience by visiting the dome as well ( I've never been "upstairs"! ), I'm surprised it was open during an event. It's strange that visitors to London fall into two categories, tourists and event or show attenders...I think you must be the first person I know to do both. I'm not sure about the affordability of London train tickets at the moment... busy weekend for me as I'm somewhere else !!

Mama Hen said...

Absolutely beautiful! The dome is spectacular! I would have loved to hear the choir. It is a great way to get the spirit of Christmas going! I hope you had a great holiday my friend!

Mama Hen

Cranberry Morning said...

Lolly, wish I could have been there, walking past St. Paul's with you!! I'm not a fan of snow either, after January 6. Then I'm ready for winter to go away...and have to wait another 3 months before it's starting to feel like spring!

Also, want to mention that I've visited St. Paul's a few times, so we were not touring when we were at the First Sunday of Advent services. Those were completely separate events. And how I'd love to be there next Sunday!

Karen Harris said...

London in the wintertime is magical. Thanks for the beautiful visit to St. Paul's.

Anonymous said...

I'm slightly confused... so, this place is in London right? I don't understand about how you were talking about walking past it, and being there...have you been in England lately? Or is this from a while ago...?

Cranberry Morning said...

Hi Natalya, Quite often my Friday posts are travel related, taking my blog readers to places I've enjoyed in the past. Sometimes it's as near as our neighborhood, sometimes as far away as Yorkshire. With six different trips to England, I have a lot of photos to choose from. Besides, as you can probably tell, I really fell in love with the English countryside! (and of course London). So glad you read my blog, Natalya. Thanks! :-)

jennyfreckles said...

I went with my daughter to a Christmas Eve service at St Paul's a couple of years ago. It was awesome - made me feel very emotional and very grateful to God for all that I have.

Anonymous said...

You've been to England SIX TIMES! LUCKY YOU! I haven't been once, but I'm mostly English and German (some Irish and Scot too) so I really would love to go there sometime. Wow. It really is beautiful there I know. I've seen photos and video footage, but I would love to go there myself. :)

Sherry @ Lamp Unto My Feet said...

How amazing to go there and be a part of the service!

Ma What's 4 dinner said...

So beautiful. I went once when I was a kid. Those choir boys are sooooo adorable I can't stand it!

Lots of yummy love,
Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner?

Debra Hawkins said...

I love this post. I love St. Paul's, one of the most beautiful places I have ever had the chance to be. I am jealous that you were there so recently. The service must have been amazing.


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