PSALM OF ADVENT
Have you ever taken part in a traditional Advent carol service? This is a kind of description of one (it was at Durham Cathedral in 1987, actually). Starting in almost complete darkness until we all had enough candles to enable us to see. It is a very moving service, at the darkest time of the year.
- In the darkness I wait with excitement:
light will bring Christmas and happiness for us all.
- But darkness is needed as a prelude to light:
and night-time must come before day.
- In the middle of darkest winter, light begins to return:
after dying, the seed can spring to life.
- So Christ comes in at Christmastime:
the shortest day brings hope for the future.
- In the darkness I wait in trembling:
for the light will show up what is wrong.
- I haven't used the opportunities you give:
so much of my life has been missing the mark.
- The Lord will come - he will not be slow:
his herald offers justice for all people in the world.
- Christ comes now in judgement:
and he judges in truth but with mercy.
- In the darkness I wait with longing:
candlelight is flanking the bread and wine.
- All that I have is represented at your altar:
all that I am is offered to you.
- In return you give me yourself:
the bread of your body for the health of my soul.
- Christ is present in the Eucharist:
make yourself known in the breaking of bread.
- In the darkness I wait with expectation:
for tomorrow is always uncertain.
- We look for your goodness to be renewed:
when all things are finally ended.
- Death will be swallowed up in victory:
the grave will no longer be the end.
- Christ will come as the end for all creation:
even so, come to us, Lord Jesus.
- In the darkness I wait in confidence:
anticipating presents, the signs of love.
- Decorations are symbols of hopefulness:
the scurrying points to imminent judgement.
- Whatever you have in store, I am your servant:
may everything be done in accordance with your will.
- Christ, come in at Christmas-time:
bring in your just yet gentle rule.