Advent can start now

Sometimes when I listen to Choral Evensong I wish believed in God. That way I wouldn’t feel like quite such an imposter. Especially during Advent.

Friday 1 December this year saw a flurry of music-related promises spat on social media to get your Christmas sorted with the ‘perfect’ playlist.

Christmas music served up like medicine. Pah.

I’m wrong. I forgot about the Advent Carol Service from St John’s College Cambridge broadcast on Radio 3 this afternoon.

The Advent carol service is the opening salvo for an epic tale. You may not believe, but the story is tantalising. That’s reflected in the grand harmonic progressions, mysterious drama, and absorbing theatre.

Like the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve, the Service for Advent is a broadcast moment and, despite my lack of belief, remains for me the first day of my festive season.

This year’s service is a corker. From the epic O Come O Come Emmanuel to Swayne’s dark and mysterious Adam lay iBounden.

Advent is underway. All other playlists pail into insignificance.

Listen to the Advent Carol Service from St John’s College via BBC Radio 3. Follow the order of service here.

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