Sunday, 30 November 2008

Advent Sunday.

Oh, Come, Oh, Come Emmanuel

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Wisdom from on high,
Who ordered all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, oh, come, our Lord of might,
Who to your tribes on Sinai's height
In ancient times gave holy law,
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come O Rod of Jesse's stem,
From ev'ry foe deliver them
That trust your mighty pow'r to save;
Bring them in vict'ry through the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, O Key of David, come,
And open wide our heav'nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Dayspring from on high,
And cheer us by your drawing nigh,
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease,
And be yourself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

The day got better. Two happy girls ready for an Advent Sunday Parade Service. Lots of small Rainbows and Brownies marching through the church with flags and banners. Wildly overexcited children now officially within reach of Christmas. Slightly less enthusiastic parents realising the countdown has begun. The first red candle lit and burning brightly.

A good lunch with Grannie and Grandad, and a prowl around a garden centre with the traditional annual purchase of a new decoration for the Christmas tree. Tin bells this year.

And now home, and ready to think about Advent properly. Ready to think about making time to prepare, not just by wrapping presents and chopping vegetables and getting stressed about making postal dates and mince pies, but to prepare for the coming of the Christ - Child and Adult. Ready to think about ensuring He is welcome in my house and in my life.

Our Advent Sunday service is always a family service, always a Parade service (meaning that the Guides and Scouts and all the junior versions of the same come in uniform, bringing parents and reading shy prayers and marching through the church), and always a toy and sweet service - children come bringing gifts which are then distributed via a local children's centre. It's a nice way of encouraging the children to think just for a few minutes about the giving side of Christmas, in amongst the wishlists and wantings. It's a nice way of bringing in families who don't ordinarily come to church (and one day the worship group will understand what we mean when we say "please play something all the children will know, not just those who come every week. But that's a separate issue). And it's a nice way of formally marking the beginning of Advent, pointing out that it isn't about a daily slice of chocolate from the first of December but that it does actually have roots in a far older tradition.

Today Our Vicar chose to illustrate his sermon by sharing invitations with the congregation.

"You are invited to a banquet by the Lord God Most High". Every child (and most adults) caught one and had to decide whether they were coming to the party or not. Little Fish of the literal mind is now convinced the vicar is throwing a party and wants to know when it is and where and whether or not there will be chocolate at it. I took her up to the vicar after the service and asked him to explain. "It's one long party, and it starts now, if you want it to" was his response. Little Fish is very happy about this but still rather confused.

Tomorrow we will start to explore this

and each day, we'll be reading the next chapter in the story.

As each story is read, we will hang it along a streamer and so as we go through the Christmas Story we'll decorate the house. I wonder if I can get away with just that as a decoration and not bother with anything else?. I would have unhooked the first to give a sneaky preview, but this happened

and so I couldn't.

It's been a good day, a busy day, but a nice ordinary mainstream busyness rather than full of matters medical. I'm looking back today as well as forwards - it was a year ago today that we buried my Goldy. Today was the sort of day she'd have enjoyed a lot. Potential to cause mayhem at church followed by a good meal out, lots of fragile ornaments to grab and test for hidden chocolate, people to shout at or ignore, a candle to blow out, and then time to watch a favourite video before bed. I think she'd approve.



Anonymous said...

I think some of Goldie has influenced Little Fish! I can just see her waiting for the party to begin and Goldie will be laughing in Heaven encourageing her on. Goldie did love a good time! Thanks for keeping the memories alive for me.
Glad Mog's cough is not serious. Hoping you get sleep soon.

Anonymous said...

forgive me for asking...but what happenend? I've only read your blog since this year.


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