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15th December 2021

Waiting. Anticipation. Expectation.

As children, we looked forward to Christmas for weeks beforehand. A Christmas morning filled with new toys; a couple of weeks off school; snowmen and sledging; chocolate, lots of chocolate. Counting off the days on the Advent calendar.

As an adult, Advent can be less a season of expectation than a time of anxiety. I need to send the Christmas cards. I need to buy the presents. Can I afford them? I need to get the Christmas dinner. Why are there no more home delivery slots available? And why do people eat turkey at Christmas anyway?

Oh to regain the excitement of waiting for Christmas, rather than waiting for it all to be over…

Where has the child-like anticipation gone?

In the traditional church year, Advent is about waiting, anticipation, expectation. We look back to the Christmas story, reliving the expectation of the birth of a child and the coming of a saviour promised long ago. A star, a manger, angels, shepherds, wise men.

But also we look for the coming of Jesus in our own lives and communities. In providing a room for the homeless person, in being there for the neighbour who needs to talk, in providing food for struggling families.

And we wait for the return of Christ. Recognizing that although we see glimpses of the Kingdom of God around us, the world is far from what we hope it will be when God’s rule fills every corner of the world.

Forget the busyness of the season, let us wait in expectation for the transformation of the world.

Ian Waddington