Sunday, 17 December 2017

Sunday 17th December - Not where I wanted to be

Church was where I didn't want to be - but I got up, scraped the car and shivered my way there. And shivered into the church. And chose a seat near the blowers at the back, and did up the top buttons of my cardigan and zipped up my fleece to the neck and hunkered down. It's my husband's fleece, several sizes too big for me and very warm, so I was able to shelter my hands inside the sleeves and make like a hibernating tortoise.

Image result for hibernating tortoise creative commons

We lit the third advent candle - "this one represents 'Love' " announced the vicar.

Image result for advent wreath
Wikipedia - advent wreath

We sang the third verse of the advent-candle-lighting-hymn - all about how this candle represents 'Joy'

We listened to the reading from chapter 8 of Paul's Epistle to the Romans, all about 'Hope' and a then a sermon on the same theme. 

We sang the hymn "The Servant King" - one I really don't care for, followed by "Meekness and Majesty". Not keen on that either.

So what was the point of being there? Why did I stay?

Because - it's not about me, and what I want, and what I like.

And the sermon was good, and full of Hope, with a bit of Love and Joy thrown in.

And I left feeling a better (if chillier!) person than when I rolled up.

Just to clarify everything, here's wikipedia on the usual themes for the four Sundays in Advent;

Advent candles
In the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, the readings of Mass on the Sundays of Advent have distinct themes:
  1. On the First Sunday, they look forward to the Second Coming of Christ.
  2. On the Second Sunday, the Gospel reading recalls the preaching of John the Baptist, who came to "prepare the way of the Lord"; the other readings have associated themes.
  3. On the Third Sunday, the Gospel reading is again about John the Baptist, the other readings about the joy associated with the coming of the Saviour.
  4. On the Fourth Sunday, the Gospel reading is about the events involving Mary and Joseph that led directly to the birth of Jesus, while the other readings are related to these.
In another tradition:
  1. The readings for the first Sunday in Advent relate to the Old Testament patriarchs who were Christ's ancestors, so some call the first Advent candle that of hope.
  2. The readings for the second Sunday concern Christ's birth in a manger and other prophecies, so the candle may be called that of Bethlehem, the way, or of the prophets.
  3. The third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday after the first word of the introit (Philippians 4:4), is celebrated with rose-coloured vestments similar to Laetare Sunday at the middle point of Lent. The readings relate to John the Baptist, and the rose candle may be called that of joy or of the shepherds. In the Episcopal Church USA, the collect "Stir up" (the first words of the collect) may be read during this week, although before the 1979 revision of the Book of Common Prayer it was sometimes read in the first Sunday of Advent. Even earlier, 'Stir-up Sunday' was once jocularly associated with the stirring of the Christmas mincemeat, begun before Advent. The phrase "stir up' occurs at the start of the collect for the last Sunday before Advent in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.
  4. The readings for the fourth Sunday relate to the annunciation of Christ's birth, so the candle may be known as the Angel's candle. The Magnificat or Song of Mary may be featured.
  5. Where an Advent wreath includes a fifth candle, it is known as the Christ candle and is lit during the Christmas Eve service.
Other variants of the themes celebrated on each of the four Sundays include:
  • The Prophets' Candle, symbolizing hope; the Bethlehem Candle, symbolizing faith; the Shepherds' Candle, symbolizing joy; the Angel's Candle, symbolizing peace
  • Hope–Peace–Joy–Love
  • Faithulness–Hope–Joy–Love
  • Prophets–Angels–Shepherds–Mag
  • Faith–Prepare–Joy–Love

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