Saturday, 1 December 2012

Advent Eve

If you listen very carefully, all over the land can be heard the sounds of music groups trying to remember how to play "From the Squalor of a Borrowed Stable". And so the social networks of the Western World go quiet, as religious ministers retire from Facebook, Twitter and even Blogger, to contemplate the big sermon of the year.

Christmas sermons are easy. You just stand up and say how great it all is. Particularly if it's Midnight Mass, nobody's going to worry anyway- everybody's generally happy and/or tipsy. You know it's the big gig of the year, but somehow it doesn't really matter if you're a bit off form - nobody's going to notice. It's a bit like Liverpool making it to the FA Cup final (it does happen occasionally) only to find they're playing the Westoning Wombles.

And on Easter Sunday - the news is so big, so great, so earth-shattering, that even the most miserable of liberals can't help but get excited, and reflect that something special is being discussed here. You're always on a roll at Easter.

But Advent Sunday - that's the big gig. That balance of expectation and challenge. That now-and-not-yet-ness. That need to start to crank up the excitement, without realising the eschatology just yet. The pulling together of hope, fear, joy and death. Cradle and grave. The first things, the last things and the big things.

And so they will scribe away into the night - balancing the joy and the waiting. It's a real challenge. They'll have put twenty hours' work in each, by the end. But it will be worth it tomorrow morning when, as their congregations shiver out into the Advent chill under a steel-gray sky, they hear those long-awaiting words.

"Nice sermon, Vicar*!"

Other religious titles are available. The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley are not an equal-opportunities employer.

1 comment :

  1. I remember it well! Just occasionally I even heard the magic formula "I agree, Vicar".


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