Now Chapel has always been more Christmassy than I would like at the Carol Service but I'd allowed myself to hope this year as it was being acvertised as Advent Carols (and not as Christmas Songs of Praise). The Chaplain had admitted on Friday that it was rather more Christmassy than that and that he had been unable to bring himself to write that on the front of the service sheet. However, I was committed to mulling the wine for it. So I turned up yesterday to do that. At which point fun ensued as the executive chef seemed to think that it was sensible to mull wine in a tea urn. I was thoroughly unconvinced by this (especially given the limescale on it) and so, remembering the saucepan I `inherited' from my German housemate*
, I went back to fetch it. This did indeed hang by its handles down into the urn, so I could mull wine in that and then put water in the urn, put the pan in the top and heat the urn to keep the wine warm for the service. During this, I got a chance to see the service sheet and I came very close to leaving after mulling the wine and heading down to LSM. However, I didn't. I wish I had. I left the chapel during the third hymn and spent the rest of the service listening from the crypt and keeping an eye on the mulled wine!
I coped with Once in Royal
(verse 1 solo, verse 2 choir, verse 4 all, verse 6 all (with descant))+
. However, when we got to O Little Town
I found I couldn't bring myself to sing it. I nearly left then, but didn't. I got through a couple of readings a choir piece and then when we stood to sing O Come All ye Faithful
, I stood up and slip out down the steps (thankfully I was positioned right by the stairs so I could keep and eye on things). I went into the crypt. I could still listen to the service but didn't have to participate. To be fair the choir stuff wasn't quite so oppresively Christmassy as the hymns (we had In the bleak
and Hark the Herald
after I left), but there was no mention of Advent at all and the Chaplain's sermon was Epiphany!
At least in my first year, when it was advertised as Christmas songs of praise
we began with Adventy stuff and moved on to more Christmassy stuff which was at least a compromise between liturgical purists like me and people who want to keep Christmas with their friends before they go down. It was, due to the vagueries of term, on the feast of Christ the King.
I really don't understand this keeping Christmas with your friends thing. As I said to a friend the other day, `I love Advent and don't want it spoilt by Christmas!'; she agreed and then laughed as she realised the absurdity of the statement! On one level, I don't care what other people, especially those for whom Christmas is only about giving gifts and having fun (and getting drunk) and not about the Incarnation of our Lord do, but why does the Church have to pander to them? Advent is important. To miss it out is to miss out some of the important themes of the Church year. The joy of Christmas is greater having had the preparation of Advent. Up until then Advent had started well. Before Compline on Saturday, I suddenly grinned as I realised that the Office hymn would be Creator of the Stars of Night
which I love. Then Advent Sunday at LSM was good. There was something stark about the sanctuary party processing in to the Advent Prose being sung unaccompanied. The Vicar's sermon was good too. Good hymns, though I am disappointed that I got to the end of Advent Sunday without having sung either O Come, O Come Emmanuel
or Lo, he comes
Ie he left it behind so I started using it+
I use the verse numberings of AMNS. I don't understand this choice as if I were singing 4 verse of it I'd go for 1, 2, 5 and 6.