We are getting closer! Excitement and expectation is building! I wonder if the best thing I can offer you is the opportunity to have a few moments of quiet: just a short time to think and maybe to pray.

Just repeat the phrase ‘Emmanuel – God with us’ a few times. As you work, shop, wrap up presents, travel – whatever you’re doing just allow those words to be with you.

John Rutter again. To be honest, it’s my favourite Christmas piece. The music is superb but the words by the 16th century priest poet Robert Herrick says it all: ‘What sweeter music can we bring than a carol for to sing … that sees December turned to May’. What is barren becomes fruitful, despair gives way to hope and future, death blossoms into life.

For Herrick the message of Christmas impacts the whole of creation. The ordinary becomes extraordinary.

Malcolm’s Musical Advent Calendar for Saturday 23 December