Friday, 21 December 2007

The O antiphons

Christmas cards have started arriving. So far I have managed to write one to our cleaners (who are secular Muslims) and two for my closest colleagues at work. I think that will have to do, I'm beginning to feel less and less guilty about not sending cards as the years go by. I do rather miss not doing my own but hey there will be other opportunites to express myself creatively I'm sure.
Anyway Peter and Sheila Brain sent us a great card, with a riddle and the promise of a Christmas letter inside, which was not a newsletter but the letter O. Very clever.
Anyway the message was simply "O give thanks" and a web address for more information about the great advent antiphons. And from that address you can get to some calligraphic interpretations of the various themes of the antiphons and of course the cyberhymnal plays you the tune.
And here's the riddle:

My first is in manger
but not in stable;
My second's in gospel
but not in fable;
My third is in Shepherds
but not in kings;
My fourth is in people
but not in things;
My whole is en français:
the world reconciled
in the glory and peace of a God-given child.

This O business reminds me of a Christmas sermon I once preached six times in 24 hours in various skiing stations in Savoy. No Christmas dinner that year just a stand up pizza in the only place still open opposite the unheated church. I won't bore you with the sermon, though O was the point - my driver (husbands have their uses) can still recite it. Probably the only thing worse than having to preach the same sermon 6 times on Christmas day is having to listen to the same sermon six times!