26 shopping days till what.

Signpost for Sunday 1 November 2013, Advent 1: Isaiah 2:1-5; Rom 13: 36 – 44; Matt 24: 36-44.

Sorry about leaving you to glean what you will from the scripture readings in light of this being the first day of Advent this week. Instead I wanted to share a few words about this ‘special’ time.

Advent for many people these days simply doesn’t exist. Christmas shopping takes its place, Shopping has become synonymous with a time of expectant waiting and preparation for a celebration not necessarily about the birth of Yeshua bin Yusuf.

The closest most people get these days is buying an Advent calendar for their children. If your kids are as smart as mine were, they open every window on day one, scoff all the chocolate and then close them again. Yet from the 4th century until mid 19th the season of Advent was kept as a period of fasting as strict as Lent.

I like this poem that I came across recently. It’s written from a northern hemisphere perspective, but we can all appreciate it.

‘A Praise in Advent’, by Arnold Kenseth

See, as we stumble in the Advent snows,
God comes to fathom us. He sends his Son,
A gentleness by whom our fear’s undone,
A jubilance who overcomes our woes.
At first, we hold him in the ancient picture:
Skoaled by great angels, crooned by watching beasts,
Thick-footed shepherds by his side, deep frosts;
Love’s history: for you and me hope’s texture.
Now he is with us, at our village stones,
Fingering the mortar, testing. His mirth
Assaults our streets, and daily he goes forth
Troubling our elegant houses with unknowns
That were and are before whatever is
Began to be. By him was made the air,
Sparrows, eagles, Asias, the sweet despair
Of the free mind. All honest things are his.
He is the holy one we waited for, the Word
Who speaks to us who stammer back, the plot
Against the rich and poor, the Gordian knot
Our wit cannot untie. He is time’s Lord.
Thus, shall we sing him well these Christmas days
And at his birth-feast practice with him praise.

You can find this poem in ‘A Praise in Advent’ in The Ritual Year: Christmas, Winter, and Other Seasons: Poems, published by Amherst Writers and Artists Press, 1993. Or you could look it up on the interweb, like I did.

Lastly for this week, I’ve just had a poem accepted for publication in an online poetry Advent calendar that you can find at www.26storiesforchristmas.com

The project is in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust and It’s Good 2 Give. It goes live on 1 December when door number 1 will open on a child’s illustration and a 62 word poem inspired by it. A new door will open every day for the 26 days of Advent. Please visit and, if you like it, tell other people about it.

Paul

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