Advent Reflections 2020

Thursday 17th December 2020

In this part of the world, we seem to have stumbled into so many problems lately. 

In March 1940, times were even more alarming, in Europe, and very dangerous. 

In anxious Denmark, the opera singer Aksel Schiøtz recorded a sacred song, from long ago, a setting from 1679, of a poem of Ahasuerus Fritsch, music by Dietrich Buxtehude, the famous organist/composer in the Hanseatic city of Lübeck, on the north German coast, ‘Was mich auf dieser Welt betrübt’. 

This time of Advent is largely ignored by the world, which is mostly concerned with the approaching Christmas celebrations, which, as Giles Fraser recently wrote, starts at the beginning of December, and ends at the time Christians celebrate the birth of Christ.  

When I worked at Royal Mail, canteen decorations were taken down on the 24th, as the secular Christmas was about finished. Christian celebrations were almost there, after this quiet time of contemplation, waiting to celebrate the coming of Christ.

The song, needed now, as 80 years ago, in translation from the original German, says, 

‘What worries me in this world will last but a short while, 
but what my soul loves will last for eternity.

The foolish joy of this world, 
how sweet she is laughing, 
has cunningly disguised her face, 
and brought woe to him who builds on her, 
but he who puts all trust in God is seeing now the heavenly crown, 
in joy without remorse.
My Jesus will remain my joy, 
what do I want with the world ?’

 


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