Begin: Advent Word 14

Mark 1:1, the scripture from which today’s Advent Word was taken, is a mere preface: “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ.” In the verses that follow, Mark pinpoints that beginning in a passage from Isaiah about the “voice of one crying in the wilderness”–John the Baptist.

I would like to differ slightly with Mark. My favorite service in the entire church year is the Festival of Lessons and Carols. whose narrative locates in Genesis a more remote beginning for that good news we await during Advent.

Although the service originated at Truro Cathedral on Christmas Eve, 1880, it is generally associated with King’s College, Cambridge, where it is a Christmas Eve tradition, tracing the plan of salvation from the fall of Adam in Genesis 3 through the mystery of the Incarnation  as articulated in John 1.

However, I prefer the version of the service that prepares for the celebration of Christmas while preserving the integrity of Advent as a separate season. Below is one variation of the lessons, which I leave you to read as you wish (links from The Lectionary Page):

Even better, find and attend a service in your local area, as I have done. I will be going to the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral (Roman Catholic) on Sunday to hear the lessons, sing the music, and experience once again the story of God’s plan of salvation for each one of us, beginning–as it did–in the Garden of Eden.

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