Every December the Cathedral choir sings a very unusual anthem by Eric Whitacre, with a strange text that begins:
There was light and gold; light which was warm,
heavy and pure like gold.
This anthem sums up for me Advent and Christmas at the Cathedral. In a dark and sometimes frightening world, we meet a light shining in the gloom during Advent. The light grows stronger and warmer, like fire, and then fills the Cathedral with gold.
The light of Advent is the story of the coming of Jesus to redeem the world, and to bring justice and peace. During Advent we hear the promises of the Scriptures that all which is false will collapse and be judged, and all that is true strengthened and celebrated. There is certainly something frightening about this searching examination (we will all meet our Saviour as judge) but there is something deeply comforting too because we know that this judge loves us and has overcome our sinfulness.
Finally, at midnight on Christmas day, the golden light blazes forth at Bethlehem, transforming us with a message of peace, mercy and goodwill. This golden light will fill the Cathedral too as we praise God for the birth of Jesus.
The Cathedral's theme for this Advent and Christmas is the confident hope we have in God. Join us and discover the dawning light of Advent and the golden light of Christmas, full of hope, “warm, heavy and pure like gold.”
The Very Reverend Peter Bradley
Dean of Sheffield