Sunday, 11 December 2011

A Pause In Advent #3

Pause in Advent Logo from FlossEarlier this year, for the first time in my life, I had an ear infection and was deaf for a few weeks. It made me think a lot about how we hear, mis-hear or misinterpret words.I decided to make my Advent Pause Posts about ‘Homophones’ – those words which sound the same, but have totally different meanings.

staid [adjective] marked by settled sedateness, and prim, self-restraint

stayed [adjective] a nautical term, meaning a mast kept in an upright position by means of stays or cables.

staid: Somehow, I don’t feel I ever want to be described as ‘staid’. I am not against ‘self-restraint’ as such – in fact, there are lots of situations where I recognise its importance. One of the Fruits of The Spirit listed in Galatians is self-control, which can help us to know when we should be restrained. But right now, particularly, in the Christmas season, I cannot be staid!

fireworksI am celebrating that God became Incarnate – that Jesus left the glory of heaven and came and lived among us as a man. That is truly mind-blowing. And so I will unashamedly go ‘over the top’ in my celebration of that truth.

In the absence of a heavenly host of angels to sing “Gloria In Excelsis Deo”, I will be OTT in so many ways…

  • I will proclaim Jesus’ birth from the [unleaded] church roof with an illuminated nativity scene
  • I  will stick colourful gilded stickers from the Bible Society on my Christmas card envelopes
  • I will spend two days in the middle of my village, in costume, persuading others to Get In The Picture
  • I will sing along with the carols being piped through the supermarket sound system
  • I will wear a hat with jingle bells
  • I will wear my sparkly American Xmas jumper with the angel and the stars and the candles on it [but not when my daughters are around, because they hate it]
  • I will light more candles than the pilgrims to Walsingham
  • I will pull crackers and giggle, and celebrate with joy
  • I will say ‘Thank you, and Happy Christmas!’ loudly and cheerfully to every shop assistant who serves me [however grumpy they have been, or inefficient their service]

stayed: Now that’s a different matter. I definitely want to be ‘stayed’ if it means that I am kept secure, and upright. There’s a great verse in the KJV in Isaiah 26 - Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Francis Ridley Havergal, the great Victorian hymnwriter was inspired by that verse to write these words

Like a river, glorious is God's perfect peace,
Over all victorious in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth deeper all the way.


Stayed upon Jehovah,
Hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised,
Perfect peace and rest.

Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love.
We may trust Him fully all for us to do;
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.

anchorAnd my apologies to Jane and Chris for mixing my maritime metaphors here- but being stayed is from the same root as being steadfast – having a secure anchor when the sea is rough. Right now I am so aware of people who have no anchor – they are so anxious about what next year holds for them. As they see the manger scene – whether in their child’s nativity play at school, in a shop window, on a Christmas Card, or illuminated on the church roof, I so desperately want them to see that Jesus didn’t stay a baby – He grew up to be our Saviour, to bring life, and love, and joy and peace. I want them to know that

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour's love.


And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.


  1. You could never be described as being staid, Angela!

  2. I have been singing along too - of course they're not Christian carols in our supermarket (heaven? forbid!!) but I do feel rather alone here in France, being OTT. You will indeed never be staid - one of my enduring memories of you is seeing you for the first time, running towards me, yelling! And now I have a picture of you with an OTT jumper and a hat with jingle bells... It's easy to imagine!

  3. I don't know you, Angela, but judging by your great blog, I'm sure you're not staid...but definitely stayed in Christ.
    May you, your family and your loved ones have a lovely Christmas and a peaceful new year. God bless

  4. As an American, I love the idea of you running around in a US style sweater. :-)


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