Silent night, holy night.
All is calm……….’
The scene was set, young children wrapped in their hessian tunics with their heads adorned with tea towels stood at the back of church with their crooks and fluffy sheep, poised to walk down the aisle on cue. The angels’ wings were held by too tight elastic and their halos of tinsel once perfect were now drooping curiously at an angle. The Wise Men looked on eagerly, they were a couple of weeks too early but nobody minded. Then came the moment, Mary and Joseph were centre stage, they smiled demurely and Mary lifted the baby Jesus carefully and gently from the manger where he lay and as she gently rocked the sleeping child Joseph lent over and snatched the doll away exclaiming “I TOLD YOU I WANTED TO HOLD IT!!!” Mary made a grab for the doll and there began the wide eyed tug of war between the two small children, to the glee and hilarity of the entire congregation………..
As I and my fellow Sunday Club leader crouched out of sight in the choir stalls with scripts in hand and ready words of encouragement, we both began to threaten these two small children with loud whispers through gritted teeth, “STOP IT!! PUT THAT DOLL DOWN!!”……. thank goodness they were my daughter and her son…!! Why are the events of Advent and Christmas not like they are in the movies? On the screen, families don’t have any trouble untangling their Christmas lights, they aren’t wrapping gifts at 2am on Christmas morning and they haven’t fought their way round the supermarket buying the tangerines and nuts ‘just because...’
Advent means a time of waiting for the arrival of something or someone really special and this Church season which journeys us towards Christmas is one of excitement for many. But for some, it is a time of year they dread. Illness, bereavement, anxiety, depression and loneliness can isolate many whilst the community around them celebrates. The homeless, the hungry and the abused, may also wonder what this season holds for them. Perhaps we know someone who hasn’t had a single conversation with another person during the past week. Maybe we can spare some food or change for the Food Pantry or the Homeless Shelter. I’m sure there are many other areas of concern we could add to this list.
I pray that we all experience a calm and tranquil Advent where we make space to put our plans and preparations to one side. Where we savour each day, each person and each conversation and where we ponder on the needs of this season of waiting that leads us gently into that time when darkness falls on Christmas Eve, the streets quieten and children are tucked up in bed…
‘ Jesus, Lord, at thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth……’
Advent and Christmas Blessings, Rev Julie