Monday 4 December

Reveal among us the light of your presence, that we may behold your power and glory.

Readings (Click the links to see the readings)

Isaiah 2:1-5 | Psalm 122 | Matthew 8:5-11

Advent 1955
John Betjeman

The Advent wind begins to stir
With sea-like sounds in our Scotch fir,
It's dark at breakfast, dark at tea,
And in between we only see
Clouds hurrying across the sky
And rain-wet roads the wind blows dry
And branches bending to the gale
Against great skies all silver pale
The world seems travelling into space,
And travelling at a faster pace
Than in the leisured summer weather
When we and it sit out together,
For now we feel the world spin round
On some momentous journey bound —
Journey to what? to whom? to where?
The Advent bells call out 'Prepare,
Your world is journeying to the birth
Of God made Man for us on earth.

And how, in fact, do we prepare
The great day that waits us there —
For the twenty-fifth day of December,
The birth of Christ?
For some it means
An interchange of hunting scenes
On coloured cards,
And I remember
Last year I sent out twenty yards,
Laid end to end,
of Christmas cards
To people that I scarcely know —
They'd sent a card to me, and so
I had to send one back.
Oh dear! Is this a form of Christmas cheer?
Or is it, which is less surprising,
My pride gone in for advertising?
The only cards that really count
Are that extremely small amount
From real friends who keep in touch
And are not rich but love us much
Some ways indeed are very odd
By which we hail the birth of God.

We raise the price of things in shops,
We give plain boxes fancy tops
And lines which traders cannot sell
Thus parcell'd go extremely well
We dole out bribes we call a present
To those to whom we must be pleasant
For business reasons. Our defence is
These bribes are charged against expenses
And bring relief in Income Tax
Enough of these unworthy cracks!
'The time draws near the birth of Christ'.
A present that cannot be priced
Given two thousand years ago
Yet if God had not given so
He still would be a distant stranger
And not the Baby in the manger.
— John Betjeman, Collected Poems. John Murray: 2003.

Prayer

Almighty God,
as your kingdom dawns,
turn us from the darkness of sin to the
light of holiness,
that we may be ready to meet you
in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

God's Holy Mountain

God's Holy Mountain, Oscar (Asher) Frohlich, 1942-

"The Mountain of the Lord's House" Isaiah 2:2.


"Maria durch ein Dornwald ging," arranged by Stefan Claas. Sung by Voces8.

Maria durch ein Dornwald ging,
Kyrie eleison.
Maria durch ein Dornwald ging,
der hat in sieben Jahrn kein Laub getragen.
Jesus und Maria.

Mary wandered through a wood of thorns,
Lord, have mercy.
Mary wandered through a wood of thorns,
Which was leafless for seven years.
Jesus and Mary.

Was trug Maria unter ihrem Herzen?
Kyrie eleison.
Ein kleines Kindlein ohne Schmerzen,
das trug Maria unter ihrem Herzen.
Jesus und Maria.

Who did Mary bear beneath her bosom?
Lord, have mercy.
A little babe without pain,
Whom Mary bore beneath her bosom.
Jesus and Mary.

Da haben die Dornen Rosen getragen,
Kyrie eleison.
Als das Kindlein durch den Wald getragen,
da haben die Dornen Rosen getragen.
Jesus und Maria.

The thorns had roses there,
Lord, have mercy.
As the babe was carried through the woods,
There were roses with thorns on them.
Jesus and Mary.



May the Lord, when he comes, find us watching and waiting. Amen.