Open Advent Window 17 – Good King Wenceslas

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In Advent2020 / 0 comments

Reflection by Adrian Rogers (aka Colonel Hathi)

Good King Wenceslas may be one of the most popular carols ever written – but the story behind it is a little gruesome.

The man we know as ‘Good King Wenceslas’ was Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia. He was also known as Vaclac the Good, but he lived only a short life, probably from c.907 to 935.

When his father died there was a power vacuum in Bohemia and Wenceslaus’ mother was banished and his grandmother killed. But once the dust had settled the people of Bohemia decided they would like Wenceslas to be their ruler and his mother returned to rule as regent until young Wenceslas reached the age of 18… at which point he promptly banished her!

To try and avoid disputes, the country was split in two and half given to Wenceslas’ younger brother, Boleslaus. But Boleslaus wasn’t happy with the set-up and in September 935 he plotted with a group of noblemen to kill his brother.

Following his murder Wenceslas became regarded as a martyr and saint almost immediately. Interestingly though, he wasn’t promoted from being a Duke to become a King until after his death, when the Holy Roman Emperor Otto I gave him the title posthumously.

But why was he so venerated?

One 12th-century account of his life may shed some light on this, for it paints the picture of a man of compassion:

“… rising every night from his noble bed, with bare feet and only one chamberlain, he went around to God’s churches and gave alms generously to widows, orphans, those in prison and afflicted by every difficulty.”

How true this is we cannot now know, but the image of a rich man finding in his heart compassion and mercy for those in need is surely one that many of us might do well to contemplate more, not only at Christmas.

Remember the Letter of the Day

Each Advent Day we reveal one letter. When you visit the Window, somewhere around Westbury-n-Trym, you will see that the QR code poster has a letter. Collect all 24 letters and rearrange them in to a four letter phrase. If you submit the phrase here, you will enter a prize draw. Submissions close on Sunday 10th January 2021.

Here is a clue to get you started:

_ _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _ !

Entries for the competition have now closed.

Print and Colour a Nativity Scene

Each Advent Day we will provide one page for you to print, colour, cut and arrange in to a Nativity Tableaux.

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