Advent is probably my favourite time in the Christian calendar, for a mixture of both frivolous and serious reasons; I love all the mince pies and parties, the sparkling lights and candles, the songs and adverts, the exciting countdown to the food-and-gift-frenzy which will greet some of us on Christmas day. I love It’s A Wonderful Life, Elf, White Christmas, not to mention Die Hard. I even love Love Actually. Yes, I am one of those people who think that September is perhaps a little too late to start selling Christmas cards in the shops! And yet I also love the opportunity Advent gives us in the face of all this activity and clamour to slow down, to pause, to come before God in stillness. And to wait. To wait to celebrate the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. To wait for the fulfilment of all that God still has to do in us and in the wider world. To wait for God to meet with us.
It is a gift of the season which I would urge us all – myself included – to accept. It is easier said than done, but by making time for God in this busiest of months we open ourselves up to the possibility of a fresh encounter with the divine.
Despite the fantastic news that we have been granted planning permission for our building development project here at Histon Methodist Church, it is perhaps appropriate as we enter Advent that we are still waiting for the work to begin. I have only been directly involved for a few months, but for the many of you who have been involved in the planning and praying and fundraising for the development project for many years it must – at times – be an agonising wait. There will have been times of frustration, irritation, fatigue and even apathy in the midst of the hopes and dreams and excitement about what this new building might mean for the life and mission of the Church here.
So, as we enter this Advent season of waiting could I encourage us all to – once more – prayerfully and actively and hope-fully wait for the project to reach fruition; to dare to trust and pray and hope and give and work together to see this exciting initiative come to pass.
Thanks once more for everyone’s warm welcome and encouragement during these first few months of ministering with you, and may I wish you all a Merry Christmas (when we finally get there!)