Advent I: This is the Record of John

We’re into Advent proper now, and one of the things we most miss about having a choir is the Advent music. Oh, we love Christmas music as much as anyone, but we love the hopefulness of Advent, the way the atmosphere is pregnant with hope and anticipation, even more. ‘Little Lent,’ we’ve heard it called, and it is, because part of Advent is Apocalyptic. But it’s also ebullient, expectant, and whereas lent has a pall over it, Advent moves from darkness to light. It’s why we’re encouraged by today’s collect to ‘Cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light.’

With all that in mind, we thought this year, in the name of variety, we’d give our Advent Sundays on the blog over to posting a favourite Advent anthem, or maybe a hymn we miss. But lest you think we’re too serious about the whole thing, we’re going to include a poem with it -selections from the delightful Church Year in Limericks, a happy discovery of ours made while trying to track down another poetry anthology for work. After all, we must be able now and then to laugh at our doctrine as we would anything else, or risk the heresy of taking it all too seriously.


With that in mind, we shan’t grouse about the fact that tonight’s tea (see above) missed the memo that rose is the colour of Advent III, not I. It’s a returning tea to the Advent selection, Strawberry Parfait, and our abiding memory of it is twofold. In the first place, it tastes of pink. In the second, we last drank it after a trying ordeal negotiating our way back from Stirling bus station.

This year it still tastes of pink, and it’s still oddly sweet in a way that recalls a jelly donut. Personally, we keep expecting Truly Scrumptious and company to waltz around the nearest corner and start singing about it. It’s that sort of sweet. Not a bad tea, exactly, but another desert tea -and, oh grievous heresy -not one you’d want to take a biscuit with.  To temper the sweetness, a little, here’s an everlasting Advent favourite of ours, written by Orlando Gibbons and sung here by the Kings College Choir, Cambridge.


And when you’ve revelled in the still small sanctity of that, here’s a bit of levity to close. Who knew what the church calendar was missing was limericks?

Holiday Declarations

From The Church Year in Limericks by Christopher M. Brunelle, © Morning Star Music Publishers 2017

Our cranberries used to be relish
But now it’s our church they embellish
(with popcorn and string)
To welcome the King
Who saves us from fates that are hellish.


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