A Season of Waiting

A handle being lit in the darkness

Every year it’s the same. Once Thanksgiving and Halloween have passed, retailers and advertisers are intent that the world should think “Christmas” (and shopping). Suddenly the festive décor is up, carols are heard everywhere, and strangers greet one another with seasonal cheer. To many of us these are welcome changes, no matter how early they appear. What believer wouldn’t prefer to see wholesome ads featuring families by firelight, rather than images that appeal to baser desires? But in the rushRead more

Four Prayers for Advent

A road through evergreen trees in winter, seen from above

Four Collects for Advent from The Book of Common Prayer: The Collect for Advent 1: Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty, to judge both the quick and the dead,Read more

Lo! He comes with clouds descending

Mist and clouds at daybreak - listen

During the season of Advent, we think not only about the first coming of Christ, but about his second coming. This moving hymn calls us to anticipate that glorious day. (Text by John Cennick, Charles Wesley). Lo! He comes with clouds descending Lo! He comes with clouds descending, Once for favoured sinners slain; Thousand thousand saints attending Swell the triumph of his train: Alleluia! God appears, on earth to reign. Every eye shall now behold him Robed in dreadful majesty;Read more

Knocking at Paradise

Antique door knocker

“Keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” – Matthew 24:42 “Advent” by Christina Georgina Rossetti: This Advent moon shines cold and clear, These Advent nights are long; Our lamps have burned year after year And still their flame is strong. ‘Watchman, what of the night?’ we cry, Heart-sick with hope deferred: ‘No speaking signs are in the sky,’ Is still the watchman’s word. The Porter watches at the gate, The servants watch within;Read more

An Advent Service for those who Grieve

Hands in the darkness, cupping a lighted candle

In recent years there has been a greater recognition that the season leading up to Christmas – with all its emphasis on joy and family – can be a heart-breaking time for many. December is hard for those who are grieving, lonely or suffering. In consideration of this, some churches, hospitals and cemeteries offer a service that has become affectionately known as “Blue Christmas.” The sad irony for me is that much of the “pre-Christmas” season is a time whenRead more

Rejoice, mortals! (Advent is coming)

Detail of painting depicting the Triumph of Christ (by Dore) - listen

“Albricias Mortales” – Rejoice, mortals! This is a baroque piece by 18th century Mexican composer Manuel de Sumaya (sometimes spelled “Zumaya”). They were certainly making some very beautiful choral music in Mexico in the 1700s. This particular piece is dedicated to Mary, and combines orchestra and choir, giving us a taste of celebration. It fits in beautifully with the season of Advent because it points to the coming of Christ – not just his first coming, but also his secondRead more