Advent is a time of waiting. Waiting for Christmas – or perhaps waiting for a better world. But also waiting for Jesus to return. Jesus promised that he would return one day and that all the world would then know him as Lord and King.
During Advent we remember that promise. We look forward to the time when all shall be well, and all hurts healed.
But in the meantime, we wait – and we are all waiting for different things. Children are waiting for Santa and presents; their parents will use their waiting in a different way, for they need to make it happen.
Planning, shopping, preparing and wondering how they are going to pay for it all.
Some will be waiting with sadness as they face the prospect of their first Christmas without someone they love.
Yet the main theme of Advent is Hope. Not the vague hope of “I hope it won’t rain tomorrow” but the certain Hope of Christianity.
The birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, 2,000 years ago shows us the depths of God’s love for us. Jesus showed us that love by being born in poverty, and by living and dying for us. By his death and resurrection he opened the gate of heaven for us all.
In Advent, we wait for the fulfilment of that Hope, that promise.
As a well known writer puts it:
‘Loving Father, help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men.
“Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world.
“Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.
“Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.
“May the Christmas morning make us happy to be your children, and the Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake. Amen!”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson