St Bride's: Sermons

New Life of Spring

Are you a first-half of the year person, or a second-halfer? I imagine the horoscopes have something to say about the characteristics of the two periods. And of course the pagan festivals were altogether more tapped into the moods of the seasons than we are today, in our centrally-heated, air-conditioned world of all-year-round fruit and vegetables.

But I wonder whether there are people who instinctively prefer heading from high summer, through the crisp and golden autumn to the joys of Christmas, rather than the cold and damp start to the year that nevertheless develops into the burst of spring and early summer. Another way of putting it is to ask whether you prefer Lent or Advent.

Never mind, for a moment, the great festivals that come at the end of these seasons. Do you more readily identify with the anticipations of Advent or the reflections of Lent? I think I'm a Lent person. That may make me a melancholic character in some people's book - more interested in the end of the stories than their beginnings.

Someone once said that you can't rise with Christ at Easter if you haven't died with him on Good Friday. That's rather a bleak thought. But I think it's quite a helpful one too. If you struggle with the enormity of the incarnation at Christmas, then try the meeting between God and humanity at Calvary. Rather than wrestling with what you're going to give up (or take up) for Lent - like New Year's resolutions, these are frustrating rules - try thinking about what you're leaving behind, what skin you're shedding, what of the past you're happy to let die. Then start afresh in the new life of spring.

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