I’ve just been to church in Clothall, near Baldock.
Every year, at the beginning of Advent, there is a wonderful Advent Service with music, imaginative readings, beautiful prayers and all the enthusiasm of people intent on praising God at the beginning of the very special season of Advent. A season, which oddly this year, we are more free to celebrate and enter into its meaning.
So often, Advent is dwarfed by all the hype leading up to Christmas and we miss out on so much of preparation, not so much for the feasting and revelry and frenetic shopping, but the real Preparation. Advent is a time when We are prepared for Christmas, as one of the clergy reminded us tonight.
As we continue to be affected by the Virus and the change in life lockdowns of various types bring, the Advent message and celebration has so much to say to us and to uplift our hearts, minds, souls at this time.
I say I went to Church at Clothall, but this year it was a ‘virtual’ visit by way of Zoom. But somehow, those clever Christians there made it just as extra special as it usually is. We even had a live demonstration of making an Advent Ring. A talented lady made it look so easy! (but it’s not!) Thankfully, her husband was on hand to turn off the smoke alarm when the first Candle was lit and set it off! That too, brought its own contribution to a unique service.
Above you will see a detail of some of the Clothall birds in the East Window.
They’ve been strutting their stuff since the 14th century, I think. They have danced through quite a lot then! And that includes a lot of dark days in our human journey. They’re still there, so hopefully, they can encourage us that, indeed all this shall pass and we will be enriched, renewed and, even maybe set on fire like that Advent candle, by God’s love and the demonstration of it in the birth of our Saviour.
Sing and strut with the Birds of Clothall this Advent! And, as our friends in Sweden say, Glad första Advent, kära vänner!
(Happy first day of Advent, dear friends!)