Celebrate the hope, joy, and spirituality of the Advent season at Festivals of Lessons and Carols set to be presented at multiple churches in Maine in the coming weeks.

The Festival of Lessons and Carols is an Advent tradition that dates back to the late 19th century. It is a blend of Scripture, prayers and Christmas carols chosen to tie into the themes of the season. It is one of the rare times carols such as “Silent Night” and “O Come All Ye Faithful” are sung in church prior to Christmas Eve. The story of salvation will be told through nine Scripture readings or “lessons,” which begin with the fall of man in the Garden of Eden and continue through the birth of Christ.

Festivals are free and scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, at Holy Cross Church, 124 Cottage Road, South Portland; 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 307 Congress St., Portland; and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, St. John the Baptist Church, 39 Pleasant St. in Brunswick.

In addition, each Sunday afternoon in Advent, St. Mary Church, 144 Lincoln St. in Bath, will host 30-minute presentations of singing, music, prayer and reflection. Each session will run from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and all are welcome to attend the gatherings on Dec. 5, 12 and 19.

A special Advent section on the Diocese of Portland’s features many useful resources including a variety of prayers, blessings, and reflections; downloadable and interactive calendars; and event listings for the diocese. The section can be found at portlanddiocese.org/advent.

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