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Advent in the Valley  - Tintern Abbey Day Way

Advent in the Valley - Tintern Abbey Day Way

Tuesday 5th December 2023
David Gleed

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas... As the season changes from autumn to winter here in the UK, a group of twelve pilgrims walked the Wye Valley on the eve of Advent, beginning and ending at magnificent Tintern Abbey.

A frosty day, we made our way across the old Wire bridge and up through woodland to the Devils Pulpit, with views back to the abbey - although by now we were 'in the clouds and the view today was lost in the mist. Along parts of Offa's Dyke and through fields, our journey now took us to the pretty village of Brockweir, with its picturesque, whitewashed Moravian chapel on the banks of the Wye. Seated inside with the Christmas tree lights on, David Heathcote first took us on a whistlestop journey from the beginnings of the Moravian Church in fifteenth century, Bohemia to the present day, and then Tim and Katrina, together, 'The Blessed Crow', sang a beautiful and ancient carol.

Back on the Way, and along the riverbank to Tintern's old Railway Station, where the wonderfully warm Waiting Room (the last passenger train stopped in 1959!) provides hot drinks amid period furnishings and on this occasion, festive decorations.

A lovely day in great company. We shared beautiful scenery, stories and times of reflection. Here's one, read at lunchtime:
I saw a stranger yestreen;
I put food in the eating place,
Drink in the drinking place,
Music in the listening place,
And in the name of the Triune
He blessed myself and my house,
My cattle and my dear ones,
And the lark said in her song:
Often, often, often,
Goes the Christ in the stranger's guise,
Often, often, often,
Goes the Christ in the stranger's guise.

(Gaelic Rune of Hospitality taken from the Carmina Gadelica)

Advent blessings, everyone.