Good news of great joy! Join us throughout the season for an array of special services, concerts and events.

Pass reservation now open for Gospel Christmas, Christmas Lessons & Carols, Children’s Christmas Service, and Christmas Eve Eucharist.

**See below for service times and details, and for full schedule, including concerts and services not requiring passes.**

 

December 1

Advent Lessons & Carols

Sunday, Dec. 1 | 4 pm

Begin the season of Advent with a special afternoon service of lessons and anthems. Readings from Holy Scripture, hymns, and seasonal choral music proclaim the coming of the Promised One. All are welcome.

Passes not required.

 

 

 

December 6–8

G. F. Handel’s Messiah

Fri., Dec. 6 | 7:30 pm
Sat., Dec. 7  and  Sun., Dec. 8 |
4 pm

Celebrate the Christmas season and the birth of the Prince of Peace with Handel’s Messiah, performed in a space like Handel would have imagined. With a period Baroque orchestra and a world-class team of soloists, Messiah unveils the story of Christianity in a way few artists have been able to capture. The Cathedral’s soaring architecture reflects the majesty of the music. Messiah at Washington National Cathedral is the best ticket in town.

Student Discount available.

Purchase Tickets

Family Messiah: The Christmas Story and Selected Highlights

Saturday, Dec. 7 | 12 pm

Bring your family for a shortened version of this iconic work. Tailored for a family experience, this performance focuses on the birth of Jesus and continues the story of his death and resurrection through selected arias and choruses ending with the famous Hallelujah Chorus.

Children, Student, and Group Discounts available.

Purchase Tickets

 

 

December 12

Blue Christmas Service

Thursday, Dec. 12 | 7 pm
Bethlehem Chapel 

For those experiencing grief, loss or hardship, the holiday season is far from the most wonderful time of the year. Death, divorce or separation, job loss, financial hardship, illness, or other circumstances mute our experience of joy, making this time of year painful for many.

Join us for this worship experience with space for silence and reflection, music and meditations, recognizing and honoring grief and difficulty, while holding out hope for healing and wholeness.

Passes not required.

 

 

December 15

Christmas at the Cathedral

Sunday, Dec. 15 | 3:30 pm matinee and 6:30 pm

Experience Benjamin Britten’s sublime Ceremony of Carols and alongside medieval and modern Christmas favorites. Join in as we raise the roof with rousing Christmas congregational favorites with the help of the Cathedral’s grand organ and the incomparable Washington Symphonic Brass. If you’re not in the holiday spirit yet, you will be after this concert!

Purchase tickets

 

 

December 20

A Gospel Christmas: What Child Is This

Friday, Dec. 20 | 7 pm

Celebrate the Christmas story through scripture and exuberant song. All are welcome to this evening of festive holiday music. Join us as we welcome the Christ Child!

Passes required. This service will be webcast.

Reserve passes for A Gospel Christmas now

 

 

December 21

Bethlehem Simulcast Prayer Service

Saturday, Dec. 21 | 9:30 am 

The congregations of Washington National Cathedral and the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, Palestine, come together in a joyful celebration of the birth of Christ. Join us for this live simulcast of prayers, readings, and hymns in both Arabic and English, bringing together those of different lands, languages, and backgrounds. All are welcome.

Passes not required. This service will webcast.

 

 

December 23

Christmas Lessons & Carols

Monday, Dec. 23 | 6 pm

Through readings from Holy Scripture, favorite, hymns, and choral and instrumental music, we move from Creation to the manger in Bethlehem, telling the ancient story of God’s continued love as shown in Christ.

Passes required. This service will be webcast.

Reserve passes for Dec. 23 Lessons & Carols now

 

 

December 24

Children’s Christmas Service with Pageant

Tuesday, Dec. 24 | 9:30 am and 12 pm

Come one, come all for this joyful service carols, prayers, and the Nativity story—including live animals! Children are invited to come dressed as angels, animals, and shepherds and join in this unrehearsed pageant.

Passes required. This service will be webcast.

Reserve 9:30 am or 12 pm Children’s Christmas Service passes now

 


Christmas Lessons & Carols

Tuesday, Dec. 24 | 6 pm

Through readings from Holy Scripture, favorite, hymns, and choral and instrumental music, we move from Creation to the manger in Bethlehem, telling the ancient story of God’s continued love as shown in Christ.

Passes required. This service will be webcast.

Reserve Christmas Eve Lessons & Carols passes now

 


Christmas Eve Holy Eucharist

Tuesday, Dec. 24 | 10 pm

Join us for one of the most beautiful services of the year, the Holy Eucharist of Christmas Eve. Readings from Holy Scripture, favorite hymns, and seasonal choral and instrumental music all herald the birth of Christ. This service includes Holy Communion. Incense will be used at this service.  American Sign Language interpretation available at this service.

Passes required. This service will be webcast.

Reserve Christmas Eve Eucharist passes now

 

December 25

Christmas Day Holy Eucharist

Wednesday, Dec. 25 | 11:15 am

Christians, awake! Join us for the festive morning service. Readings from Holy Scripture, favorite hymns, and seasonal choral and instrumental music all ring out to proclaim the Divine Presence among us. This service includes Holy Communion. Incense will be used at this service. American Sign Language interpretation available at this service.

Passes not required. This service will webcast.


Christmas Day Organ Recital

Wednesday, Dec. 25 | 1:30 pm

Cathedral organists Thomas Sheehan and George H. Fergus play an afternoon recital of traditional and familiar holiday favorites on the Cathedral’s 10,647-pipe organ. $10 recommended donation.

Passes not required. This recital will webcast.

 

December 27 & 28

Holiday Light Spectacular

Friday, Dec. 27 | 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 8:30 pm
Saturday, Dec. 28 | 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 8:30 pm
 

Transport your family to a wintry wonderland as the soaring architecture of the Cathedral comes alive with a dazzling light show and an animated film about a boy and his snowman who comes to life for one enchanted evening.

Fall in love with The Snowman, a beloved 1982 film about a boy’s magical poignant journey with his snowman, accompanied by a live orchestra. Glistening lights along the Cathedral’s vaulted ceiling and soaring columns bring you into the story, followed by live-music performances of holiday favorites, from “Silver Bells” to “Walking in a Winter Wonderland.”

This indoor experience includes the 30-minute film with live orchestra, moving light display and short orchestral concert of your favorite holiday songs. It’s a perfect gift for friends, children and parents who, as the song says, “can hardly wait for school to start again!”

more info and tickets

Christmas Passes

Due to capacity concerns, passes are required to attend the following Christmas services:

A Gospel Christmas

Dec. 20, 7 pm 

Christmas Lessons & Carols

Dec. 23, 6 pm
Dec. 24, 6 pm

Children’s Christmas Service with Pageant

Dec. 24, 9:30 am
Dec. 24, 12 pm 

Christmas Eve Holy Eucharist

Dec. 24, 10 pm 

Reserve passes now

Advent Meditations

Members of the Cathedral Congregation, Cathedral clergy, and staff offer a meditation each day during Advent.

Read 2018 Meditations

Advent & Christmas Season Gallery

crèche exhibit

Opens in late November
South Crypt Aisle
(Lower Level)

The Cathedral’s annual crèche exhibit features about 80 nativity scenes depicting the story of Jesus’ birth as interpreted by cultures and customs around the world, selected for display from the collection of over 800.

Donated by a former docent, the Cathedral’s collection includes miniatures, rare materials, and unusual depictions, as well as typical examples that might be found in one’s home.

shop & support

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Shop Christmas cards and other seasonal gifts at the Cathedral Store.

Your purchase supports Washington National Cathedral.