Evensong at St. Paul’s Cathedral 

I can’t remember what it was – but one day I was reading something somewhere and a voice in my brain shouted at me 

“St. Paul’s Cathedral! At Christmas-time!” 

I made note of it but then got distracted until I got a Vox from Adri the next day saying 

“St. Paul’s Cathedral! At Christmas-time!” 

Unfortunately I was too late to get tickets to any of the really amazing Christmas services. (For example, the Cathedral choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus.  Can you imagine?! NEXT YEAR.)  But I did remember multiple people telling me that Evensong was always open to the public.  So I chose a day and stressed over the logistics because the kids don’t get out of school until 3:50, Evensong begins at 5:00, and it’s easily a 45 minute trip from their school to the cathedral.  Plus- four kids, by myself, at a choir service in a sound sensitive Cathedral?

I put a little something for each of them in my bag, something to wear with their school uniform to dress it up a little bit, and made them change in their school bathroom.  Then I begged the receptionist to let me leave all their backpacks in the school office overnight and off we went.  They were pretty good about walking quickly to the DLR station, and on the train we talked about cathedrals, and how their beauty and majesty is purposefully designed as a way to express worship and respect for Deity.  I told them that Christmas was a really fun time, and there would be and have been a lot of really fun things, but this was about Jesus Christ and reverence.  They listened remarkably well, and even seemed to absorb what I was saying.  

We got to the Cathedral in time, and found some seats.  The kids all did really well for the most part.  I had to keep Simon entertained by asking him to find paintings, statues and stain-glass images of Jesus throughout the cathedral.  And Miriam fell asleep with her head in my lap by the end of the service.  (The choir voices were really soothing and lovely, and Psalms are just the kind of lullaby that might make one doze off.)

St. Paul’s Cathedral is so beautiful.  Notre Dame was beautiful too, but in a different way.  I’m not an expert in historical architecture, but I think that the Gothic style is lovely, but more dark and broody.  Baroque style is open, full of light and majesty and so brilliant and bright.  The inside of St. Paul’s is really just magnificent.  I think the kids and I were all content to just look around us, with the angelic voices singing along in the background.  

When the service was finished we went outside for a few photos but it was really cold and we were all really hungry.  I was so grateful that the kids had behaved so well that I took them to dinner at Pizza Express and they devoured their food.  (My kids have become lovers of Italian style pizza, with the really thin crust.  And I think they feel fancy when they ask for “Margherita” – which is just plain mozzarella and tomato based sauce.)  

Then we went walking in search of some Paddington bears, but didn’t have much luck as many places were closed already.  But we did see some new places that I would love to go back to during daylight.  (The Museum of London, the Guildhall, and the St. Paul’s churchyard.) 

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The one Paddington we did see- Bear in the Wood – right outside the cathedral.

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I love this picture of Eli and Simon making faces at their reflection in the train window.

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