Weekly Reflection 29th November – 5th December 2009

Posted on: Sunday 29th November 2009

The reason for the season…

One of the inestimable pleasures of living in London is the opportunity to do things that are only possible in a city of its size. If you want to yodel, or play ice hockey, or dance the tango (or do all three together), there are enough people wanting to do the same to turn the idlest of wishes into reality. So I attended for the first time on Sunday a group I found on Facebook, Dachshunds in London, which met at two at the bandstand in St James’ Park. It had been raining cats and dogs, appropriately, so even though the sun came out after lunch, I thought we would be few, and when I arrived, with Daisy tugging on her lead, the only one to meet us was a Russian dog photographer who looked a little crestfallen at having come such a long way for such a small turn out. Then, in the distance, the low profile of a dachshund snaking through wet leaves appeared, then another and another, and then I heard someone call my name. It was a fellow priest of the diocese who had brought his wire-haired dachshund Fritz to join the fun. Naturally, inevitably, we fell in with each other, swapping church gossip while Fritz and Daisy scampered with their peers. We compared plans for Christmas – how many carol services have you got? – but then he said thank God we’ve got Advent first. I agreed; Advent is my favourite season of the Church’s year. Me too, he said.

Invidious, if not silly, to have favourites – anyone for Lent? – but even in the most lacklustre of Christians Drop down ye heavens from above summons each year a feeling of anticipation. The sense of something not yet arrived, very Anglican that, is particularly resonant in the Church of England, which offers a feast of Advent music, hymns, readings and customs. There’s Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, Isaiah’s promise of a miraculous birth, the Blue Peter Advent Crown, so complicated to construct it caused the worst row my parents have ever had; and then, of course, the ancient and unfading thrill of opening the Advent Calendar.  This year, as an alternative to the Disney tie-in versions, we are publishing our own, to be sent out daily by email, offering you a Thought for the Day – a poem, or reading, or picture, or piece of music – to rouse anticipation while you browse your BlackBerry. A printed version will be made available for the offline.

Fr Richard Coles, Curate.