Sunday, November 27, 2016

Advent pause for thought

On this calm, chilly November afternoon I’m sitting at my desk in my warm, somewhat untidy study. Outside DH has been taking advantage of the dry weather to do some jobs before the sun, which has been peeping out intermittently from behind the clouds all day, finally sets. The house is quiet and still, as befits the beginning of what is for me one of the most reflective seasons of the church’s year.

The peace and quiet are very welcome after what has been a very busy and often turbulent year. At home it has been an unusual year, with none of our habitual peregrinations to Scotland and France, but with substantial changes, necessitating a lot of hard work, taking place here in Wales. In the wider world it has been a year of often shocking political upset, with both the EU referendum in Britain and the presidential election in the USA plumbing new depths of misleading and vitriolic campaigning, and their results plunging our two countries into deep and prolonged economic and political uncertainty.

Into this turbulence and uncertainty comes Advent, with its message of hope and expectation, reminding us that however dark things seem there is always the promise of light and new beginnings. For me, as for most of us, it will inevitably be a busy time, with cards to write, presents to buy and lots of baking to be done. Yet I will try to hold onto this still centre of quiet and hope amid the busyness and the darkness, in anticipation of the joy of Christmas itself.

One of the pleasures of writing my annual Advent Sunday post is deciding what music to include. This year I have chosen a poem written by my friend Christine McIntosh, set to music by her musician husband John, and sung by their church choir at Holy Trinity, Dunoon, Argyll. The exquisite combination of words and music captures perfectly the expectant, trustful hope of Advent. I hope you love it as much as I do.