Thought for the week: point to ponder

Advent: What are we waiting for?

‘I’m waiting for the January sales, so I can start getting ready for next Christmas’ was a post on Facebook this week from someone with whom I used to work. That’s next Christmas, 2019! Yet we are just on the first Sunday of Advent 2018, the time of waiting, hoping, praying, reflecting upon the events of Christmas Day; the Word made flesh yet born as a child in a manger.

I have often said, ‘Let’s not rush too quickly to the manger’. Let’s simply enjoy the waiting.  This year I am dipping back into Margaret Silf’s book ‘Lighted Windows’, daily readings which invite us to reflect upon what we long for and reminds us that God simply calls us to hope and trust and live by his wisdom.

There are things I am waiting for this Advent.  Today it is the excited faces seen behind the flickering candle flames at Christingle.  Then there are the countless opportunities this month to sing the familiar carols which I really love.

But one particular service I wait for, as excitedly as the youngest attender, is the Crib Service on Christmas Eve.  I’m waiting for that 4pm when it will simply be too late to chase any more ‘last minute must-haves’.  It’s when the waiting is almost over, the children come in all their excitement of another night visitor rather than the three kings. We have angels, shepherds, kings and donkeys.  We have tired and excited parents and grandparents in equal proportions.  As the story unfolds, the church becomes a mixture of anticipation and peace.  2000 years and the familiar tale still moves us; the baby born in poverty to make a difference to the whole world.  So, this year I’m waiting for 4pm Christmas Eve because that’s when it all really starts.