1st December 2023

Recently lots of people have been marching in support of their views on the Israeli Hamas conflict. Have you ever been on a demo? Marched through Bristol or London with hundreds, maybe thousands of other people holding aloft their banners in support of some worthy cause? I haven’t (although some of my family have). But you must have seen them on the television news. ‘What do we want?’ shouts someone, and back comes the response followed by ‘When do we want it?’ – ‘Now!’ Now, not tomorrow; not next week; not in a few months’ time. No, we want it now.

On Sunday we come to that time of the year we call Advent, the season that leads to Christmas. What do we want? Christmas! When do we want it? Now! Well, sorry, you can’t have it now, you have to wait another 26 days. Advent is a time of waiting. It always has been. Waiting has been part of Christmas right from that very first.

Mary had to wait. Like any expectant mother she had to wait some nine months. How did she pass her time? She went to visit her relation, Elizabeth, who was also pregnant. It was while she was with Elizabeth that Mary expressed her feelings and the significance of what was happening in what we have come to call the Magnificat – ‘My soul tells out the greatness of the Lord’.

So now we too wait. Mary used the time to prepare and so must we – no not just the sending of cards and the buying of presents, but by contemplating the significance of what we are waiting for.

David T Roberts