Wednesday, 29 November 2017

15 Signs that it's Advent in Church

"The bells of waiting Advent ring," as Betjeman told us. As pre-Advent comes to an end, we look at the immense tensions in Church between the ones who want to mark Advent properly, in a sober and considerate view towards death, judgement and the last things - and those who want to celebrate Christmas properly before it's all over on Boxing Day. Or, to put it another way, the clergy and the laity. So here are those signs it's Advent:
Father Christmas and tons of bling
Definitely not until the 3rd Sunday in December
  1. The congregation gets round the Christmas decorations ban "because it's Advent" by organising a Christmas Tree Festival, starting in November. 
  2. The Christmas Crib appears - and is promptly put back again.
  3. The annual complaint about lack of carols -  with the liturgical response "There are Advent carols."
  4. The minister develops an allergy to mince pies after the 19th Nativity Play / Carol Service / Carol Concert / Assembly - and mince pies with the post-service coffee since October.
  5. Carol services start in the 4th week of November, with the organisers pleading "everyone is so busy just before Christmas."
  6. Vicar comes up with dozens of ways of explaining why the 2nd Coming will not be a literal event.
  7. The giant "card for the whole church to raise money" is put out in the vestry. Everybody signs it, then buys cards for the rest of the congregation in case they get offended.
  8. House group hosts stock up on mince pies.
  9. The temperature drops so low on Sunday mornings that the pews develop superconducting properties.
  10. (In liturgical churches) everyone says purple's such a nice colour, can we use it more often?
  11. In rural parts, the vicar goes out and buys a new diary. Not for next year - for this year, with bigger pages.
  12. The minister has the annual "whom to buy Christmas cards for" dilemma.
  13. The Sunday School goes into sugar rush when they realise they get to eat a whole week's worth of Advent Calendar chocolate every Sunday.
  14. Somebody googles Betjeman's Christmas but accidentally quotes the Beaker Folk version.
  15. The Easter rota comes out.

Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. And don't forget it's nearly Christmas!

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