Sunday, 29 November 2015

Advent Candles

Today is Advent Sunday, the beginning of the season leading up to Christmas.  As you may know we love marking the seasons properly, so we always have an advent candle of some kind.  This year we have two!  One is the usual slim one with numbers that we've put by the fireplace to light each evening.

The other candle we have in the middle of our table.  I had made the wreath last week at WI, and started wondering whether it would last until Christmas

Then we had the idea that it could be our advent wreath.  So today we lit our candle at our Sunday lunch.  We shall light it at each meal until Christmas, then it shall become our Christmas centre piece.

I think I've probably posted the following poem before, but I do love Betjeman and it is rather apt with all the black Friday nonsense that is swirling around.

Advent 1955
by 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.