Christmas Eve Lessons and Carols

December 24, 2023

Audio Recording

Merry Christmas to our listeners in every corner of the world, from Vancouver to Vanuatu, Kokomo to Kiev - and welcome to our annual presentation of ancient scripture and brand new versions of favourite carols, from various members of the Steyn Show musical family drawn from the worlds of folk, jazz, rock, opera and more.

If you're in the mood for a very distinctive telling of events in Bethlehem two millennia ago, do please click above.

On the other hand, if you were at Melbourne's Carols by Candlelight earlier when protesters stormed the stage and seized the microphones, you'll be relieved to hear that SteynOnline security is much tighter so that is most unlikely to happen during our show.

Listeners have come to enjoy this annual tradition at SteynOnline. As Nancy Wenlock, a First Day Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club, said of our first broadcast:


Thank you so very much for this wonderful presentation. You bring together such amazing artists.

The entire production was second to none.

Her fellow Nancy, Virginia Steyn Clubber Nancy Hawkes, agreed:

Simply lovely and lovingly simple. Your reading of (King James?) scripture was so fitting. The dry words on the page are often incomprehensible to me, but you made it come alive.

Thank you to both Nancies. (But don't worry: For our militantly atheist listeners discombobulated by God-bothering, the great secular trinity of Santa, Frosty and Rudolph can be found here.).

As you'll know if you've attended Christmas Eve service in the same village church for decades, some things stay the same but others evolve a little. Aside from a reading and a poem at opening and closing, the words don't change, because they have been unchanged for centuries. But we tweak the music a little each year, adding some different carols and re-arranging ones we've heard before. However, this Christmas Mark has included a passage from Matthew he doesn't usually read - because, at the end of this terrible year, it seems all too apt, and it leads into what we think you'll find an unforgettable musical performance.

Steyn also welcomes some newcomers to our cast, including his fellow Torontonian Rebecca Enkin and his fellow Irishperson Rhoda Barfoot. Rhoda was a big hit with listeners last year for her re-imagining of "Galway Bay" and she has done the same with a hymn whose origins stretch back to the eighth century. For her part, Rebecca takes a carol that can sometimes be a bit stodgy and turns it into a blast of pure joy.

We save the credits with respect to who sings what until the end of the proceedings, but Tal Bachman, who was on our Christmas telly show just yesterday, returns with an intimate take on a very familiar carol, as does Emma Kershaw (seen with Tim Rice on our show of Christmas past) whose lovely reading of "Away in a Manger" delighted listeners last Yuletide. There are also performances from the great Irish tenor Anthony Kearns; Elisabeth von Trapp from the famous Sound of Music family; and Linda Purl, a fixture on American TV screens from "Happy Days" to "Matlock" to "The Office": guests from America, Canada, England, Ireland, Wales and Switzerland.

Our stellar musicians are also back. For our prelude two years ago, pianist Geoff Eales backed guitarist Russell Malone, and for that of last Christmas Eve teamed up with saxophonist Nick Moss. So this Yuletide we thought we'd give him the prelude all to himself. Don't worry, Nick is here too, providing a vigorous sax and then an elegaic flute for two consecutive numbers that couldn't be more different.

Simply click above to listen - and we wish all the blessings of Christmas to you and yours!

The Mark Steyn Show Band
arranged and conducted by Kevin Amos;

Miss Barfoot's pianist and bassist: Jeff Taylor, Byron House;

Mr Kearns's pianist: David George;

Ms Enkin's pianist and bassist: Rob Thaller, Pat Collins.