... in waiting in joyful hope
Advent is a time of hope, of anticipation but also of waiting.
As a child I expect you were as frustrated as I at only being allowed to open one door at a time of the Advent calendar. Why do we have to wait? Why can’t we open them all at once? Of course, once the doors were all opened the wonder, the joy of the message was amazing. It was worth waiting for.
Maybe you were involved in the school Nativity play. My ability as an actor was never fully recognised since the height of my acting career was fifteenth shepherd (in field –sitting). I never actually got to Bethlehem, never stood with my mates round the manger. Why could I not be cast as one of the Magi, then I would get to see Jesus. I always hoped teacher would choose me next year; but she never did. But I still hoped and waited. The other day I found a piece that echoes these themes of waiting and travelling in hope and anticipation: ‘Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.’
As we waited to open the doors on the Advent calendar years ago, so we now wait in joyful hope for the coming of God’s light into our broken world of chaos. But we do not wait passively, we wait actively together with our fellow Christians to prepare both materially and spiritually for a new and unforeseeable experience of healing and hope; for we need that healing and that hope now more than ever.