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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

19 December 2018: Rev'd Richard Saunders, St Mary Magdalen, Sheet

Waiting   

These days Christmas seems to rush up on me and, if I’m not careful, catch me unawares and unprepared. There’s so much to do beforehand: cards to write, presents to buy, tree to erect, services and sermons to prepare and more besides. I sometimes wish Christmas could be postponed for a few days to give me a chance to catch up.

But I can still remember (just) the time when, as a child, Christmas couldn’t come soon enough. The countdown of the number of sleeps left to the big day seemed to take for ever. There were far too many Advent Calendar windows still to be opened. Waiting is hard.

Whether Christmas is rushing up on you or approaching too slowly, we’re all waiting for something. It might be a new job, retirement, a spouse, a baby… Perhaps it’s financial security, a place to belong, feeling comfortable in our own skin. True friends. Purpose.

Waiting is hard. We hate waiting. Dreams deferred, not knowing our future. One of the most difficult things about waiting is the uncertainty.

Mary and Joseph can’t have had an easy time waiting for their baby. The scandal in those times of pregnancy before marriage. A long journey when heavily pregnant. The mysterious dreams of angels prophesying that the child would be great and come to be a king. How would it all work out? Anxious times.
Yet the message of the Christmas angels is one which calms our anxious waiting: ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace among those whom he favours’. The Christian story is that the Christmas baby came to tell us of the love God has for us. That no one is outside that love. That all can be forgiven. That amazingly the God behind the universe wants to be Immanuel: God with us. He invites us to know him and trust him with all that we are waiting for.

And although I still don’t enjoy waiting my experience is that it is made easier when I trust God in it. My prayer is that you will know peace in your waiting this Christmas.

Christmas Messy Church is on Saturday 22 December from 10:00 am to noon at Petersfield Methodist Church



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