Yesterday was the second Sunday of Advent. A week ago we had prophecy (Jeremiah) in the lectionary readings, as my friend Tahoe Mom mentioned. We also had an apocalyptic reading for the Gospel, something that happens every year on the first Sunday of Advent, and something that, finally, I am getting used to.
This week we had prophecy again (Malachi), but we also heard the Song of Zechariah and got an introduction to John the Baptist. We move forward from one week to the next. Advent is a journey, as Tahoe Mom points out.
Spiritually we travel these next four weeks with no assurances that there will be a place to stay when we get to the end. And certainly no palaces or cool hotel suites await us ~ only a back yard stable and the pain of birth. Never the less, we make the journey, somehow confident that at the end, Light will arrive and if necessary, we will make the journey all over again. Crazy? Yes. Amazing? Yes as well. Blessings on our way.
Advent blessings to all of you who celebrate the season.
I usually avoid performances recorded with handheld cameras here on Sacred Music Friday, but the harmony is lovely, so I hope you’ll put up with the somewhat shaky video.
Advent began on Sunday. It is a bit early this year. Christmas falls on a Friday, so we were still in November as Advent began. But still, not a moment too soon. That green season after Pentecost stretches on for a terribly long time, and a long one it was this year. We arrived in Hemet on 6 May, the day after Cinco de Mayo, when the movers arrived at our old house. Pentecost was 24 May, and Trinity Sunday, the first Sunday after Pentecost, was 31 May. It is now Advent. Much has happened in these many months. If you have been reading this blog you know. If not, you can click “SoCal Life” in the category map to the right to find out.
Certainly when Advent began last year, I never would have expected that we would be where we are today. But life takes unexpected turns and we adapt.
There was a time when I was big on enforcing Advent, meaning that one is not supposed to listen to Christmas music until Christmas Eve. My spiritual director, in one of her last sermons at her old parish before moving on to a very active retirement said, in essence, if you want to listen to Christmas carols during Advent, go ahead.
That’s good advice. I need to be gentle on myself this year, so I think that I’ll take it.
This showed up on Facebook a while back courtesy of my friend Annalee. I thought it appropriate today with the beginning of Hanukkah.
The original had some text at the bottom which I think detracted from the message. The diagram delivers the complete message on its own.
Click on the image for the full-size version.
And scroll down beneath the diagram for Peter, Paul and Mary’s marvelous “Light One Candle.”
I wrote at the beginning of Advent that I had given up being the Advent Police, and that if I wanted to listen to Christmas music during Advent I would. What I’m discovering is that I don’t want to. I’m perfectly happy right now listening to music that is not of the Christmas genre. Christmas is on a Thursday this year, so there will be plenty of opportunity to listen to Christmas music between Advent 4 and Christmas Day. And, of course, for those of us in the liturgical tradition, Christmas lasts until Epiphany on 6 January, so there is lots of time to listen to Christmas music from Christmas Day until then.
Of course I impose my approach on no one. You need to do what works for you. As the internet abbreviation goes: ymmv – your mileage may vary. I certainly understand that given the headlines in the news along with the stresses of daily life many people choose to start listening to Christmas music earlier rather than later.
First movement from cantata BWV 140 “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme” (Wake, arise, the voices call us), performed by the J. S. Bach Foundation of St Gallen, Rudolf Lutz, conductor.
It is Advent once again. Advent is always welcome after that long, green season after Pentecost, even if the Gospel reading for 1 Advent is apocalyptic in nature. The color of Pentecost depends on which denomination you belong to. The Lutherans some years ago changed the color of Advent from purple to blue in order to emphasize expectation over penance. In the Episcopal church the official color of Advent is still purple. Although as Linda my spiritual director has told me, the purple of Advent can be seen as the purple of royalty. At St. John the Divine the color is purple, we have no flowers, and we sing the Kyrie as we do in Lent, though Fr. Phil made a comment on Facebook yesterday similar to what Linda told me about purple and royalty. This year we are doing Eucharistic Prayer C for Advent, which always delights me.
I wrote a reflection at the beginning of Advent last year, which I think still holds up well, except for the reference to the year in the lectionary cycle. Last year we were beginning Year A, Matthew. This year we began Year B, Mark. The question then revolved around, as it still does this year, when Christmas can seep into Advent. I have given up taking on the role the Advent Police, and have decided that if I choose to listen to Christmas music in Advent I will so so. As Linda said to her congregation last year:
I’ve noticed that there’s not much any of us can do to control Advent and Christmas. Just like babies, Advent and Christmas seem to arrive in their own time, not ours. Despite our tight-gripped control of our calendars, they are not as predictable as we would like to believe.
My intent this year us to enjoy the season. I hope you’ll do the same.