No, the choirs of Christ Church Cathedral are not exceptionally organised with holiday greetings – there’s too much music to learn and perfect before we even think about other elements of Christmas and New Year. But “happy new year” is (perhaps not theologically) completely appropriate for this weekend: Sunday is the first Sunday in Advent, the time of preparation and promise, and of waiting for the birth of Jesus, and it makes the end of one liturgical year – the glorious celebration of Christ the King – and the beginning of a new one.
It’s a time of bustle and busyness, of the year’s first emergence of tinsel and Christmas shopping sales and photos with Santa. We have to fit in shopping, and Christmas presents, and ordering hams and arranging family visits (and sometimes navigating family politics). There are work Christmas parties and holiday plans and the hair-tearing hassle of finding a car park at Market Town. The choir is extra busy, too – music to be organised and learnt, rehearsals to attend, practise at home to review our parts – the responsibility on us, to sing well, of having the honour of contributing to the worship of a congregation, is something we take seriously. There’s laughter in our rehearsals, yes, but there’s lots of hard work.
Advent is busy, and there’s so much that distracts us from the meaning of it. Because the spirit of Advent is that it is a time of stilling, of reflecting, of waiting. Waiting for the celebration of the incarnation, for the joy of the first singing of the Gloria after a month without it, for the wonderful Christmas music (and we can promise, as always, some beautiful music). But we wait too, in a broken and hurting and beautiful world, for the dawning of light and healing. We wait for a world in which fear and hunger are no more, in which violence and torture and our abuse of each other and our fellow creatures are swept away by the love and gentle power of the Source of love, the crucified and resurrected Creator of the Universe, Christ the King.
And, theologically appropriate or not (the blogger takes full responsibility), the choir does wish you all a happy new year. May this time of waiting and hope be one of quiet blessing, and may we all know and share the love of our Christ the King, this liturgical year and always.