In the last 24 hours we finally got a bit of a taste of winter, with very cold winds making the -11C feel more like -19C (12F and 0F). We know there is lower to come, but it was a bit of a shock after the relatively balmy -1 or -2 we have had recently.
This Sunday marks the start of Advent – the beginning of the church year which serves both as a count down to Christmas and a remind to (as the boy scouts would say) be prepared for the return of Christ which will be altogether different from Christmas. This is what Luke wrote in the book of Acts, as Jesus prepares to leave His disciples:
6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
The first Sunday of Advent is marked across Norway by Lysmesse, a special ‘service of light’, led by the confirmands. A bit like the English service of lessons and carols, there are readings for the old and new testaments foretelling and telling of the birth of Jesus, the Christ. The service begins in darkness with a single candle on the communion table symbolising the light of Christ from which the flame is spread around the confirmands, sitting in a circle around the congregation, and culminating in the confirmands leaving the church, to go to be light in the world. Below is the poster for the service – initially it was meant as a joke, but the idea caught on!
The rest of the pictures were taken last night when we had a very ‘icy’ ring around the moon, and at dawn today (about 9.30am). The sky was pink and blue almost all day today. I’m still trying to get the hang of exposure settings in these darker days, so there are some duplicates.