Sunday, November 30, 2014

Advent quiet

Further south the country may still be reeling from the chaos of Black Friday and gearing up for the increasingly frantic countdown to the festive season, but up here in the far north of Scotland, the sum total of my Christmas shopping so far has been the church’s Christmas Bazaar in the village hall yesterday afternoon.

Thanks to my recent misadventure, Advent for me is starting on an even quieter note than it did last year. Not only can I not drive, I can’t even make a start on the baking, so I’ve been busying myself with writing Christmas cards and notifying relatives and friends of our new address at the same time. Other preparations will have to wait until my left arm is released from its plaster prison, hopefully within the next 10 days or so.

This means that yet again I have the privilege of savouring in tranquillity at least the beginning of this period of anticipation we call Advent, one of my favourite seasons of the church’s year. Later on I will begin to revel in the increasing excitement and busyness, but for now I can contemplate the wonderful landscape that surrounds us and ponder the meaning of it all.



Image via Google

42 comments:

  1. Hari Om
    Sublime... Blessings for the start of this glorious season. YAM xx

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    1. Thanks, Yam, and the same to you. Glorious is the perfect word.

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  2. Thank you for a beautiful hymn, one that we sometimes sing, Perpetua. This is the first year I have been aware of Black Friday - I suppose it will invade Australia; everything else does eventually :) Hope the cast is gone soon, and you will be back to festive season excitement.

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    1. Oh, so do I hope the cast goes soon, Patricia. So frustrating.

      I love the Advent hymns and trey to sing all the great ones sometime during Advent. I hope for your sake that Black Friday doesn't make it to Australia. It's very new here and I really hope it's better controlled next year. Not a innovation I appreciate.

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  3. I've joined a new spiritual community this year, so I've found readings for each Sunday of Advent from the faith tradition of my childhood and for the new one. Looking forward to lighting the first candle tomorrow night.

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    1. What a good idea to bring together readings from both your spiritual traditions, Linda. I hope you have a very fulfilling Advent.

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  4. Thank you for the music, P. If I close my eyes I can imagine myself back in St. Dunstan's Mayfield.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it, BtoB. Music is a wonderful form of time travel.

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  5. Quite early in the morn here, Perpetua; this first Sunday of Advent. I'm afraid I won't make it to our own Lessons in Carols this morning, but, here you are, giving me the first gift of the Advent season in this music. Thank you, dear friend from across the pond. Keep mending.

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    1. You're very welcome, Penny. I thought you would appreciate this beautiful Advent hymn. I'm sorry you're missing your own special service as I know how much it means to you. I enjoyed the short walk to church in brilliant sunshine this morning.

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  6. Advent is a lovely time of year, and far superior to the horrible consumerism of Christmas shopping and feasting.

    I just read about your broken wrist, so sorry to hear about that. Big dog pulled me over seven years ago and my right arm from shoulder to fingers was useless for months, no idea what as I didn't go to hospital. I did find typing brought back the dexterity to the fingers slowly but surely. Very slowly I might add. Amazing what you can learn to do left-handed though.

    This year I managed to break and dislocate my ankle. Not something I would recommend. Two weeks peri-op in plaster waiting for blisters to go down. Six weeks post-op in plaster, non-weight-bearing. Seven months later, I can manage a creditable limp.

    So I wish you the speediest recovery possible.

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    1. Hello, roughseas, how nice to see you here. I really love Advent and try hard to observe it, even when I'm all in one piece.

      I'm very fortunate to be right-handed and have broken my left wrist.At the moment I haven't to use my left hand at all, but typing and knitting will be excellent exercise once I.get rid of this cast. Your arm injury sounds to have been much worse and I'm glad you managed to recover from it, even if very slowly.

      Your ankle injury sounds horribly painful and incapacitating, especially for someone who lives in an upstairs flat as I seem to remember you do. I broke a bone in my foot some years ago and even that much more minor injury needed 6 weeks in plaster, so I can imagine how hard it must have been for you.

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  7. Celebrating the beginning of advent in quiet contemplation sounds like a wonderful thing, Perpetua. Of course, it would be even better if you were doing it minus the broken arm. I have to admit to being rather envious of your Christmas shopping at the local church bazaar. I wish we had them where I live.

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    1. It is indeed a wonderful thing, Kristie and is the silver lining in this particular cloud. In other circumstances I'd probably be dashing about being busy and forgetting the reason why. Christmas bazaars or fairs are traditional and popular church fund-raisers over here and DD was telling me all about theirs when she phoned this afternoon. This one was a bit different because of the super local food products.

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  8. I think quiet contemplation is the best way to welcome Advent anyway, so maybe it was a blessing in a way. I'm sorry about your arm. I've just been catching up and see now what happened. I hope it heals quickly and that you aren't in too much pain. Take care, friend.

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer. I'm glad to say that my arm is starting to feel a lot more comfortable, though I'll still be very glad when the cast comes off. It's SO heavy! However it doesn't stop me enjoying my quiet start to Advent, especially here so far from the pre-
      Christmas busyness.

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  9. It'll be Stir up Sunday here as the pudding I thought I had had left to mature from last year has suffered a mysterious disappearance...dogs, Men or aliens....?

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    1. Sorry, Helen, I shouldn't laugh at your predicament but I can't help it! The Intriguing Case Of The Missing Christmas Pudding sounds like a perfect one for Miss Marple....

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  10. Wishing you a speedy recovery Perpetua..
    You have been very busy with christmas cards. Something I don't do anymore.
    Here where I live is way away from the city and all its madness.
    I watched the people on tv scurrying for items in the shops.. i think the world has gone mad.
    I only see adverts of buy buy buy... nothing about Advent or the birth of our Lord. I think it so sad.
    wishing you peaceful days - Up in the Highlands, that look so peaceful.
    val xx

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    1. Thanks, Val. Thankfully we're a long way from all the Christmas madness in the shops and on TV (we don't have TV here) but I've enjoyed doing the Christmas cards, as I do every year. Many are to elderly relatives and distant friends whom we can't see often, so I like to remember them now.

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  11. Beautiful hymn. Thank you Perpetua. Ah, the first Sunday of Advent, the first Advent Song, and looking forward to the Children's Program next week. It is good to just be quiet and listen to the Holy songs that bring peace of body, mind and spirit. Hoping you will get your cast off when expected.

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    1. Thanks, Bonnie. Glad you enjoyed it. The older I get, the more I want to savour Advent with its wonderful music and leave Christmas music and festivities until Christmas.itself. This period of expectant waiting has become really important to me in recent years.I hope your Children's Program goes really well.

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  12. The singing on the video is beautiful. I've just come home from a lovely Advent service at our church. Savouring in tranquillity this time of the year just sounds lovely. Hope your arm heals quickly.

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    1. If how it feels is any guide, I think my arm is gradually healing, Molly. I love evening Advent services, so I envy you yours. The singers on the video are the Cambridge Singers, whom I like a lot. I have a couple of their CDs.

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  13. One of my very favourite hymns, P - it always sends shivers down my spine, and I think that it draws us very close to heaven. We've just had a lovely Advent 'Service of Light' (a joint service for all our group), candle-lit,at one of our smaller churches this evening. Very moving, and well attended. Prayers for the BH,(& me) please - we lost one of our dogs last Wednesday, and BH was in tears when I got home from a MU lunch, as he'd been to the vet's to be with the dog while the deed was done, rather than wait for me to go with him. Both very sad - but the brother dog is rather enjoying having all the attention! By the way, BH is driving shortish distances now, but has another trip to the eye consultant on Thursday, and on Friday we go up to see his family in Yorkshire for the weekend (I'll be driving!!).

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    1. It's one of mine too, Helva, and I love this particular rendering. As I've just said to Molly in my previous reply, I envy you your evening Advent service as evening is the perfect time for this sense of awe and expectation.

      So sorry to hear about your dog. Was it Smokey or The Bandit? You will miss him a great deal. Glad to hear that the BH is able to drive a bit now. Hope his appointment goes well and also your journey to Yorkshire.

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    2. It was the Bandit - he'd not seemed too well for a while, but the vets couldn't find what was wrong for the first two blood tests, but when he started not eating at the beginning of last week we took him down again on Tuesday and they kept him overnight. In the morning they took more blood and did X-rays, and discovered that his liver and spleen were seriously deteriorating, and his lungs were filling up with fluid, part of which was blood, so there wasn't really any choice, as they couldn't do anything for him, poor little chap. He'd been trying so hard to keep up his usual happy-go-lucky attitude, but kept going down. It's horrible to see them struggling to keep going, and I wish we'd realised sooner how poorly he was.
      Let us know when you're coming home - will you be back for the 13th? If so, I'll come and pick you up.

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    3. Poor Bandit and poor you. Hugs to you both.

      We're coming back on Sunday, so a loft on the 13th would be great, thanks. I'm guessing that even if the cast is off, driving will put too much strain on the wrist.

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  14. Thanks for sharing your contemplative tranquility with us. I too am happy to see the advent come. Also, Thank you for sharing the beautiful hymn with us. I continue to hope you healing is coming along nicely and that you soon will be free of the plaster prison. May the quietness that has been a result of this injury continue to be a blessing to you.

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    1. Thanks, Sally. I'm glad you enjoyed the hymn and that you're another lover of Advent. My wrist is feeling considerably better and I will know more about how well it's healing when I see the surgeon again tomorrow. Whatever happens I'll try to hold on to the quietness.

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  15. A little forced quiet, it seems, Perpetua. I know that you'll continue to find real peace as you anticipate the joys of the season, however. We are spending an unusually quiet December with more time at home than usual, and I find it really welcome. I, too, love Advent and it's helpful not having so many possible distractions! Thank you for such a beautiful hymn. One of my favorites. ox

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    1. It's lovely to know that I'm not alone in my love for the season of Advent, Debra, and I'm glad you're also finding yourself able to appreciate it quietly at home this year. I find I feel the joy of Christmas much more keenly after a time of preparation, rather than plunging into celebration as soon as December starts. The hymn is one of my favourites too.

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  16. I love this hymn, the words and especially the tune, which seems very appropriate during Advent.
    I really appreciate your comments on my blog knowing that it's not easy for you to type at present. Continuing to pray for relief from the discomfort and for complete healing of your badly injured wrist and for your general well being.

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    1. I completely agree, Linda. Its gentle, meditative quality, rising at the end to an outpouring of joy, fits the season perfectly.

      I'm enjoying gradually getting round the blogs I read,and commenting, however slowly. After all, there are plenty of things I can't do at all at present, but this I can.

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  17. Enjoy your peaceful beginning of Advent, Perpetua & prayers for the complete healing of your left wrist. After our wonderful Advent Sunday morning worship, I'm just about prepared for a second advent - that of my wife who flies into Prague tomorrow afternoon at the end of her walking pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

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    1. Thanks, Ricky. It's lovely to know so many people are praying for me and I'm really appreciating the peacefulness, before we have to start packing for the long trek south on Sunday. Welcome home to Sybille - you must be overjoyed to have her back with you again.

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  18. Dear Perpetua - I am pleased that you are taking things at a leisurely pace and enjoying the tranquility of your beautiful surroundings. The baking and all the other jobs can be put on hold, the repair of your wrist is paramount.
    John Rutter is, I think, one of the most gifted composers of his generation.

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    1. To be honest I've no alternative but to take things quietly, Rosemary, as I was given strict instructions that I wasn't to try using my left hand for anything at all until I see the surgeon again tomorrow. So I've been enjoying guilt-free tranquillity and experiencing it as a real gift.

      I'm glad you like John Rutter too. I think his work is wonderful.

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  19. Such a beautiful hymn....it is many years since I have sung it, and so lovely to hear it tonight. Take care P. I hope you continue to have a peaceful and restful Advent. My thoughts were with friends from the Todmorden Choral society this last Sunday, as they once again, performed the Messiah....in the unbroken chain of singing it on the first Sunday of Advent , since the 1880s.

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    1. Thanks, Janice. Yes, it's a wonderful hymn and I'm glad I chose one which is such a favourite with everyone. Your mention of the Todmorden tradition of singing the Messiah on Advent Sunday reminds me of the lovely comment conversations we've had in past Advents when I've chosen excerpts from Handel as my Advent music.:-)

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  20. I am very sorry to hear of your misfortune. But as you so rightly say, it helps you to celebrate the season in a slow and meaningful way rather than the mad, unmannerly and soul-destroying rush so many people go in for. Black Friday? Pshaw!

    I hope your wrist will heal nicely and you can get back to happy activities in the near future. In the meantime, enjoy the enforced inactivity and reflect on the peace and hope the season bring with it.

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    1. Thanks, Friko. Slowly and meaningfully sums up rather well the way I have to tackle even the most mundane activities at the moment. I can do nothing in a hurry. :-) I've finished writing the Christmas cards, but have done absolutely no other practical preparation as yet - not even a bit of shopping.Nevertheless Christmas will happen and we'll enjoy it.

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