The format was based on an Order drawn up by Edward White Benson, later Archbishop of Canterbury but at that time Bishop of Truro, in Cornwall, for use on Christmas Eve 1880. Tradition says that he organized a 10 pm service on Christmas Eve in a temporary wooden shed serving as his cathedral and that a key purpose of the service was to keep men out of pubs on Christmas Eve.
The original liturgy has since been adapted and used by other churches all over the world. Lessons and Carols most often occur in Anglican churches, but also in some Roman Catholic parishes, Lutheran parishes, and Presbyterian institutions. Moreover, numerous Christian churches have adopted this service, or a variation on this service, as part of their Christmas celebrations. In the UK, the service has become the standard format for schools' Christmas carol services.
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