December 23, 2009

Nine Lessons and Carols

About 3 weeks ago, the Dean of Christchurch Cathedral requested that I do a reading for a service entitled The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols scheduled on December 20th. I was quite reluctant at first because no 1, I had never done any sort of reading in church before and no 2, I didn't want to make a spectacle of myself in front of 500 people. I tried to come up with some lame excuses, telling the Dean how inadequate I was in matters such as this but he was very very persistent. In the end, I find myself muttering a weak "yes" to the Dean and saying mati lah to myself.

So three weeks passed and Sunday came. A rainy and cloudy Sunday by the way. When we got to the Cathedral we realized that there wasn't any parking space left. Since I didn't want to be late, I went in with Alva and let hubby find a parking space in the drizzling rain. The administrator walked me to my seat (second front row) and assured me that a verger will guide hubby when he arrives. So I sat and waited, but still no sign of hubby. At exactly 8.30 pm, the Dean of the Cathedral started off the ceremony by welcoming everyone to the festival and the message he highlighted was to remember the birth of Jesus Christ. Finally, he told everyone that the service will be broadcast on TVONE on Christmas Eve. Excuse me, WHAT? I blinked in disbelief when he said this because I suddenly realized the magnitude of this whole reading thingy. GOSH! No wonder everyone's looking so posh and elegant! We were going to be on TV and I didn't even get my hair done!

I was still in a dumbstruck state when we were asked to stand for the Processional Carol. At this point, the Christchurch Cathedral verger, administrator and choir made their way to the altar area (don't know the proper term for this) together with the Dean of the Cathedral and Bishop Victoria Matthews. Once the Bishop, the Dean and another person whose title I have no knowledge of, were seated, everyone else sat down. Then, the cathedral choir started its first song entitled Adam Lay Y'Bouden. The moment they sang everyone was mesmerized because they were really really really good. It gave everyone the wow effect as they sounded so melodious and harmonious. Like those choir you see in the old movies ba. Haiya, don't know how to explain. Anyway, I later found out that this elite choir group is the only professional choir of boys and men in New Zealand and for this special festival, they sang in English, Latin, Spanish and Huronian (the language of the Iroquois Indians of North America and Canada which became extinct in the last century). They are WOW. No other words to decribe them really.

Back to the Nine Lessons and Carols. So I was reader 6 for Lesson 6 and you can imagine my anxiety as my turn was drawing to a near. I had three things to worry about.  1. The reading- what if I mispronounce a mouthful of words? 2. The journey to the lectern-what if I slip and fall flat on my face? 3. How about Alva? Hubby is still MIA! So these thoughts were playing in my head when the choir was singing Angelus ad Virginem in Latin.   I couldn't enjoy the singing at this moment because well, you know why. Once they finished singing, my fate was sealed. I tried to remain calm and tell myself to get into the Que Sera Sera Mode. Whatever will be will be lah.

I panicked. When it was my turn, I stood up, took Alva with me and fled!


When it was my turn, the lady behind me (probably read my mind) offered to hold Alva. Phew! I took my crumpled paper and waited for the verger to lead me to the lectern. There was a dead silence. The journey to the lectern itself felt like a mile. When I was finally up there, I had to take a few seconds to compose myself. After 4 seconds, I read:

Luke tells of the birth of Jesus.

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

I did it! The moment I finished, Alva started crying and everyone started looking at her. Some were smiling and some were not. I quickly walked to my seat and took her from that kind lady behind me. When the choir resumed, I felt so light and relieved. I did it! I did it! There was no slip, no fainting no falling. No tragedy. Hehe. After the ninth lesson, the festival ended with a joyful Christmas song that lit up everyone's mood.

And hubby? Where was hubby during all this drama? Well, apparently he was sitting at the back watching the whole show. He was having a hard time getting Alden to behave so the warden insisted that they sit at the back to avoid causing a commotion. Well, everything worked out anyway so it was not as disastrous as I thought it would be. Praise the Lord!


Carpe Diem 211 said...

somebody became an instant celebraty .. :D do you have a copy of the telecast?

Lizeewong said...

Haha..celebrity panicky and I think I was the most sempoi reader, with my jeans jacket and boots!:P Ala dear, I dont think I can get a copy of that. Will try and ask the cathedral though :)

chegu carol said...

at first kan, i thought you were asked to read and give something like bible sharing...if like that i will also chicken out tu...

but yay! you did it!

merry christmas to you and family!!!