Waiting. We spend a lot of time waiting in different circumstances or different places: waiting in the supermarket queue, waiting for a parcel to arrive, waiting for the end of lockdown or for a vaccine that brings the hope of greater social freedom ….. Waiting can be full of pleasant anticipation or frustration or boredom.
There will be many children waiting with eager anticipation this month for December 25th. Activities at school, programmes on television and decorations in the shops will help to build the excitement until parents find it almost impossible to cope with their fractious, over-tired children and are desperate to get them to sleep on Christmas Eve. Of course, this “waiting” time in December is not free from activity for parents. Even with more subdued festivities this year there are still cards to write, presents to buy and decorations to put up in our homes. Last month Alison encouraged everyone to decorate their windows so that we can all enjoy the spectacle as we walk around the village. Waiting is not always a passive time.
The church is also waiting in December. It’s the season of Advent which is the start of the church year. Advent is seen as a time of preparation for the birth of Christ, a time of prayer and reflection, a time to get ready to welcome the light of the world into our lives again. The Church of England’s Christmas campaign for 2020 is called ‘Comfort and Joy’ (you can find out more on their website www.churchofengland.org/comfortandjoy). This year in particular we all need to feel some comfort and joy.
Jesus is sometimes called Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us’. This is a reminder of the great gift of love that God has given us in the birth of Jesus, and can bring a sense of comfort and peace in these challenging times. Jesus, the light of the world, brings love and hope to the darkest moments of our lives.
I hope that your Advent season is not full of frenetic activity or frustrated boredom while you wait for Christmas. I hope that it is a time to look forward with eager anticipation to a Christmas filled with light and love, even though it may be different from previous years. May you have a blessed Advent and a joyful Christmas.