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Advent: Tears and darkness are not the last words

Reflection accompanying image “Rejuvenation” and “My own secret self

If the signwriting manifestly belongs to another age, the qualities it denotes seem timelessly desirable. If the opportunity presented itself which of us would not be enticed by the prospect of making enduring alterations in our lives and of being rejuvenated? Even if the shop seems old fashioned and the window has been broken those two words might well be enough to grab the attention of our inquiring minds and leave us wanting to know more. Have we stumbled upon something marvellous that will change our lives, and substantially so? Is this place the answer to our prayers? (In fact this particular window belongs to Princes Denture Repair Service in Hull, so our interest might well be very short lived indeed!)

But staying with the thought for a moment, isn’t this eye catching use of language exactly what we encounter throughout Advent? Words, phrases and texts catch our attention because they resonate deeply with us, whether we are people of faith or not. We recognise within the holy language of this season that which speaks to the very core of our being: the ancient and abiding promises of alteration and rejuvenation are offered clearly and accessibly on their own merits, hanging visibly like breath in the freezing air of a winter’s night. They tantalise in their simplicity and accessible imagery, beguiling us with a feather-light grace freed from religious dead weight and dogma. Take these three examples:


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