This is the first Sunday of Advent, and there are precisely four weeks of noisy distractions ahead of us, from Christmas hits in supermarket aisles to Ho Ho Ho’s from Santa Claus; from compulsory good cheer at office parties to sleighbells pretty much everywhere. And most of these diversions are great fun, fostering friendship, generosity and laughter in a cold season of short days. But there is another voice which can be heard, if we listen, throughout Advent. And this voice does not distract us from the world, but asks us to listen to the world, and discern God’s presence here. It is a voice of promise – that this world is accompanied; that love is at work, gently but unceasingly; that the harsh, discordant cacophony will be hushed. And it comes in the call of another baby known in the womb, in Mary’s womb, many years after Isaiah, a child who cries from Bethlehem to Aleppo, a distance of only 330 miles but 2000 years. And this cry still cuts through the babble, and invites us to listen.
Part of Donald MacEwan’s sermon on Sunday Worship for Advent Sunday. You can read or listen to it in full at this link. [And it will also explain why our Advent page boasts a picture of St Rule’s Tower]