On Saturday morning I walked through the gardens to the library and was greeted by a very cold, very frosty, very beautiful sight. I immediately decided that this must mean that it was Christmas. (You may think this early, but to that I tell you that Tabitha was singing ‘The First Nowell’ as she was doing the washing up at the beginning of October, so I’m in the clear.)
As a consequence, I spent the morning listening to Angel’s Carol by John Rutter as I worked, a piece that is wonderfully familiar as I used to sing it every year in choir at school. It’s a gorgeous song all about Christ’s coming at Christmas, and I adore the lyrics – ‘let the earth rejoice, at the Saviour’s coming’ is one of my favourite lines.
In the ensuing few days I’ve listened to Rend Collective’s entire Campfire Christmas album multiple times, been happily mesmerised by the lights and the Christmas trees that are turning up around Cambridge, and I have been so close to getting out my reindeer jumper! In fact, actually as I write, I am drinking some Christmas tea that Lucy + Dom bought for me as an early Bridgemas present, and eating a chocolate orange that Tabitha bought me for the same reason.
The ‘Bridgemas’ I’ve just mentioned is the Cambridge Christmas which happens on the 25th November (so this Friday) – the idea being that we get to celebrate Christmas with all our friends here before we leave in December. I am so excited about the multiple Christmas concerts and carol services and meals and parties and a formal all happening in the next couple of weeks. It all seems especially exciting to me this year because I won’t be at home for Christmas, so it’s an opportunity to fully embrace ‘English Christmas-iness’ as much as I can.
But the reason for my excitement isn’t just about the fun of the different events that are happening. It’s because I love the time of advent. This is a time of being reminded how much I have to celebrate. For Christmas is the celebration of God with us, Immanuel. Of God coming to Earth to be in our presence. How incredible is that?!
It gives every good thing that happens an extra sweetness. Because when I sing carols I am getting to worship my King, and when I see Christmas lights I am remembering that the Light of the World arrived at Christmas, and because, when I eat yummy food and receive gifts from friends, I do so praising the Lord for I know I am blessed. And so it is that with every little Christmas related thing that happens I rejoice and give Him glory for the greatest gift of all – the grace and love I have because Christ was born.
Let the Earth rejoice at the Saviour’s coming!
The melody still rings clear in my head to this day :’)