Well, advent has begun! Advent is one of my favourite times of year, although technically carols are meant to sung between Christmas and Epiphany, I do enjoy singing them, and I love the heavy expectation in the run up to Christmas Day. Traditionally advent is a time of reflection – a bit like Lent – before the joy and celebration of Christmas, but that seems to have got a bit turned on it’s head; now we party until January 1st, and then reflect (from bed, with an alka-seltzer!)

This idea of advent reflection makes sense – after all it was 30 years after the birth of Jesus before he really began making his mark, and certainly the birth of a child was not the relatively safe procedure it is for us in the West these days. I guess there was excitement about it though – Mary going to see Elizabeth (who herself miraculously conceived John the Baptist), birth of a first child, let alone virgin birth with visitations of angels.

Still, I do approach advent with anticipation – for me Easter is a deeper celebration, and Easter makes my life as I know it possible… but without Christmas there wouldn’t be an Easter!