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söndag 27 november 2016

Rejoyce - it's Advent Sunday!!!

Happy New Year!!!

Daughter of Sion, lift thy forehead, Heavenly Kingdom is near. Sing aloud your Hosanna, for your King is now here! God his Son to earth now has sent,  so rejoyce, it is Advent!!!"

This was one of the very songs that brought me right into the lap of God, my first year in the churchchoir, I was 17 and agnostic. Since then I have sung this with several different churchchoirs and it's always fantastic and uplifting and sends shivers down my spine of joy. It's a swedish song by an old churchmusician called Otto Olsson.  It's called "Advent", simply. Here sung by the Sofia chamberchoir in Stockholm, a clip from Youtube. I don't have any means of bringing you our choir!!!

 We light one candle at the time, for every sunday. But we also turn on the electric lights and stars in the windows.   
The friday before Advent Sunday we go by boat out to the small island that is a part of our parish, and the small chapel there. I tend to do that trip quite reluctantly since I often enter the chapel with a greenish complexion...luckily it wasn't my turn this year!! Not the sundayservice either, I was on the organloft with the churchchoir, looking down at the herd!!
Our large church can take about 600, but this sunday it's not so crowded, however, most people prefer sitting further back, so them you can't see at all!!! Up in front the candlestick with the four candles can be seen, but the flame is drowned in sunlight! And we sing our songs and hymns, we read the Prophet and the gospel about the king on his donkey. This morning several hundreds of thousands candles were lit, 1st of Advent. Many have no clue to what it all is about but the tradition lingers on, even if you never go to any service during this period. I do wish more could be reached by the message of mercy and the Kingdom of God!

 I also add some pictures from the small chapel or Missionhouse, later this afternoon, quite different in character that service is, plain wooden benches, children singing, homebaked cookies and coffee afterwoods.

All set for the advent festivities today, here many many children had their sundayschool, in the back a large furnace, no running water, outdoor loo. In one hour from now there will be people in every corner and the heat will cloud the windows. 9 children talked , sang and lit the candles, Rolf played his violin, another Rolf sang the songs he has sung here the last 50 years or so,  Annies Quartett sang the songs we have been singing for 16 years, the ladies served a great coffeetable with homebaked cookies, we all sang the traditional hymns, I held a sermon and then we all went home in the darkness, but with bright hearts.

The elderly gentleman doing this beautiful decoration has done so for God knows how many years!

And this is the last thing I see, leaving the chapel, the moist on the windows and the electric candles barely showing through.
The chapel was built 1921. I love it.
One hymn we always sing, in every swedish church, is this one:
The choir leading the congregation in this Youtubeclip is Maria Magdalena and Youth Alive gospel.  The lyrics: "Hosanna, Son of David, blessed be the one that comes in the Lords name, Hosanna in the highest"  Voglers music this is.

The trees surrounding the square are filled with lights!!
In the Frogpark ( well, I didn't name it!!) the lights are transformed into hearts. It does make me feel rather good, actually.
If you want, you can buy your christmastree already, they sell them outside every store and gas station, we have large plantations all over Sweden.  When the season is over, they go for recycling or simply in to the furnace!!! We never buy before the 20th, but that's us!!

The mainstreet lights up when the sky is darkening, shopwindows filling up with seasons decorations and exposing Christmas gifts of all kinds. Christmas market is held in the old barns by the castle. And in every village, more or less. The season starts earlier and earlier, some stores start already in the beginning of october!!! Me no like!!

Every year the children gets a calender, I know many of you have the same traditions. The calender, a german idea from the beginning, just like the ornamented christmastree, was meant to bring children one step closer to the holy birth, day by day, with nice and sparkling pictures. Soon it became filled with chocolate and today you can buy these calenders filled with everything from perfume to whiskybottles. Oh, and chocolate..... the pictures inside has silently passed from stars, candles and mangers to snowmen, skates and presents.

The swedish national television is broadcasting since 1958 a Christmas calender for children, with a short story every day from 1 to 24 of december, not from Advent anymore. The stories are greatly varied from goblins and elfs to babies being born in a garage in the suburb or tales of christmases in the past or stories about anything but christmas. Very seldom the issue is the birth of our Saviour. So some churches make their own calender , and some even have a live calender, with actors telling the gospel. 

May your days of the advent season be blessed , thoughtful and bright!!!

2 kommentarer:

  1. So many thoughts run through my mind as I read this post.Advent is a special time for me. Christmas as it should be, as in the little church...meaningful, simple and heartwarming. You are right when you say that the advent calendars are now filled with anything imaginable. We lit our first candle this past Sunday as well. A very simple circle of candles, each one waiting to be lit, and the story to be told. The same story, ever new. I haven't listened to the music yet but I will. Blessings, Solveig.

  2. Thank you Bonnie, so nice to read your kind comment!! The same story, ever new, that was brilliantly put. Advent is also a time of Lent, at least in some traditions. That part is often forgotten in the rush of merchandise, but we need to simplify rather than magnify. Yes ,do listen to the music and give back some of yours! I bet english choirs seldom sing anything swedish!!