Close up of a chorister's carol music open in a carol service

Christmas poems from the nine lessons of a carol service (2021 archive)

In this series, I wrote poems inspired by each of the Bible readings from a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.

If you’re curious, my favourite one (by far) is this one: Shepherd, leave your flock and fold and I put pictures to it.

The format of this service has its origins in the 19th century with the Right Rev. Edward White Benson, who became the archbishop of Canterbury. In 1918, an army chaplain, Eric Milner-White, introduced it to King’s College chapel, Cambridge. It was hugely popular and has been broadcast on the BBC nearly every year since (in 2020 the service was pre-recorded without a congregation).

I grew up with carol services heavily influenced by Nine Lessons and Carols and I do have a soft spot for themeven if some carols have worn very thin and tired for me. 

In this series though, I thought I’d see what it would be like to make poetry from the scripture readings. 

You are welcome to use these in worship and other non-commercial use.

PS I also have an easy-going short Christmas drama/sketch The Three Wise Wives.

Photo by David Beale on Unsplash


Close up of ripe peaches on a peach tree in the sun. Text: The Wind in the Orchard (a poem inspired by Genesis 3:8–19. Faith in Grey Places Genesis 3:8–19: The Wind in the Orchard (a poem) November 14, 2021 - She said it was the serpent's trick, That made the fruit seem good to pick, And that was why we ate.
Smoking flames of a small camp fire in the daytime. Text over the top: The Day to Live (a poem inspired by Genesis 22:15-18). Faith in Grey Places Genesis 22:15–18: The Day to Live (a poem) November 21, 2021 - My father sits, His knife discarded Amidst the ends of rope
Crescent of the sun coming out from a solar eclipse, lighting up the clouds around a browny-orange. Text: Who walks when you walk in darkness? (a poem inspired by Isaiah 9:2,6–7) Faith in Grey Places Isaiah 9:2,6–7: Who walks when you walk in darkness? (a poem) November 28, 2021 - There is no quiet, No sense of peace, No sight to guide, No knowledge to lead.
White wooden dove decoration on a wooden surface Isaiah 11:1–9: The King of Peace (a poem) December 5, 2021 - Governance and graciousness, The sceptre of fragrance and fellowship.
White feathers on a large wing. Text over the top: The Weight of Wings (a poem inspired by Luke 1:26–38) Faith in Grey Places Luke 1:26–38: The Weight of Wings (a poem) December 12, 2021 - She saw my feathers ruffling at the softest breeze, And yet she knew my wings were heavy.
Close up of a Christmas decoration where Mary holds a baby Jesus. Text over the top: The Prince of Prayer (a poem inspired by Luke 2:1–7) Faith in Grey Places Luke 2:1–7: The Prince of Prayer (a poem) December 19, 2021 - Princes sit And an infant lies in a manger.
Close up of shepherds in a nativity scene with lambs. Text over the top: Shepherd, leave your watch and field (a poem inspired by Luke 2:8-16) Faith in Grey Places Luke 2:8–16: Shepherd, leave your flock and fold (a poem) (with pictures) December 26, 2021 - Do not linger at the cost, Seek the one who seeks the lost.
Detail from a Christmas nativity scene focussing on one of the magi. Text over the top: The heavenly summons (a poem inspired by Matthew 2:1–12). Faith in Grey Places. Matthew 2:1–12: The heavenly summons (a poem) January 2, 2022 - For when a king is born, the nations should come, The many assemble at the feet of the one.
Close up of an outstretched palm of a hand, with the rising sun in the distance, as if cradled in the hand. Text over the top: Logos (a poem inspired by John 1:1-14) Faith in Grey Places John 1:1–14: Logos Λόγος (a poem) January 9, 2022 - Light of all truth, Life of all humankind, Love made flesh. 
Print Friendly, PDF & Email