Rev Chris update – 19th December 2021
So, we now come to the last Sunday of Advent as we count down to Christmas and will light the fourth candle on our Advent Wreath in church. This candle represents Mary, the mother of Jesus and I will say more about her on Sunday, both online and in church.
There is another ‘count down’ to Christmas that has historically been used in the church although we rarely hear of it these days – maybe it is time for an airing. This ‘count down’ takes place between the 17th and 23rd December and is called The Advent Antiphons – an ‘Antiphon’ is an anthem, or verse, that is sung as part of the liturgy of a service, usually vespers (evening prayer). They are often referred to as the ‘O Antiphons’ because each anthem begins with ‘O’ and form the basis of the carol ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’.
Each day from the 17th to 23rd December has a different Antiphon as follows;
17 December – O Sapientia (Wisdom)
O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other mightily,
and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.
18 December – O Adonai (Lord)
O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.
19 December – O Radix Jesse (Root of Jesse)
O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;
before you kings will shut their mouths,
to you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.
20 December – O Clavis David (Key of David)
O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
21 December – O Oriens (Dayspring)
O Morning Star,
splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death.
22 December – O Rex Gentium (King of the nations)
O King of the nations, and their desire,
the cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race,
which you fashioned from clay.
23 December – O Emmanuel (With us is God)
O Emmanuel, our King and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Saviour:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.
This may all seem irrelevant in this day and age, and yet there is depth and meaning in each of these anthems
that stretches back over many millennia. They take us on a journey that develops a sense of anticipation and
longing for the true meaning of Christmas. In this age of ours maybe it is good to recover that sense of the
gravity of what is going on here amongst the glitter and tinsel, the presents, and the festivities. I shall be saying
Evening Prayer at 4pm, in St Nicholas Church, from 17th to 23rd using these Antiphons – please feel free to join
me (although I will ‘say’ the Antiphons, rather than sing them! My singing pleases no one!).
Please don’t forget our Carol Service at 5pm this Sunday, Crib Services at 3pm & 4.30pm, and Midnight
Communion at 11.30, on Christmas Eve and then Christmas Day Oasis Communion at 10am with Bishop Rose &
Fiona. Face coverings need to be worn when inside the building.
Please note that the funeral for Pauline Garrett will be on Thursday 30th December at 11.15am in St Nicholas
Church with refreshments at The Grange Moor Hotel afterwards. Our thoughts and prayers are with Geoff and
the family at this time.
Thank you for all the wonderful donations that keep coming in from everyone, both financial and physical. 2nd Allington Guides provided Christmas parcels and Allington Primary School collected much needed supplies including some wonderful Christmas treats.
After much heart searching, and various conversations, I have come to the decision that it would be wise, in the current climate, to cancel the cafe for this coming Tuesday, 21st December, with the view that, all being well, it will re-commence in the new year on Tuesday 4th January. I recognise that this is hugely disappointing and hope that you will appreciate that this has been a difficult decision to make. In the meantime, Liz & Angela, and myself, wish to offer you a healthy and happy Christmas.