At the end of the month we will be entering that the church season of Advent. Advent is the season in which we traditionally wait… We wait… We wait for Christmas, but we also recognise that as God’s people we also wait for the return of Jesus Christ and the fulfilling of all things. Over the weeks of Advent we are pulled back and forth into waiting for the 25th December and the waiting for God’s final fulfilment of all things.
Usually I journey through advent with the word “wait” itself a heavy weight (bad pun alert) on my lips. However, this year as we approach Advent the word that springs to mind is ‘longing’. Longing carries with it the aspect of waiting found in the standing in the ‘not quite yet-ness’ of the moment and looking forward, but longing also carries with it the connotation at of a certain breathlessness, a desire to see the thing fulfilled.
As I think of Advent in terms of longing I’m not so much brought to think about Christmas and God’s great big plan at the end of time (though that longing is still there) but rather to the longing that the people would have felt ahead of Jesus’ birth, the people of God longing for messiah to come. Longing for messiah to come and then being surprised that the messiah came in the form of a poor refugee.
Over the last few years we’ve been waiting to be able to celebrate Christmas ‘properly.’ In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis I wonder how many people in our communities are longing to be on the other side of Christmas and all the financial expense it so easily entails.