Christmas Eve is finally here. Whether you’re the organised, envied few who’ve had their amazon deliveries wrapped from mid-November, or the deadline driven panic buyer who maybe still isn’t finished, time is almost up.
Advent is the Church’s celebrated period of waiting. In the rush to get ready, however, it can often seem anything but. Perhaps the only real waiting you feel you’ve experienced this year has been in that 36 minute queue for the checkout, or watching the last few seconds tick by on the office clock before you’re finally on holiday.
But really, waiting itself is intrinsic to our human experience. We are all waiting for something.
Maybe it’s a job which might finally bring us a sense of purpose; that special person who might make us feel complete; those two grey lines on a pregnancy test.
It might be difficult to appreciate the awe and overwhelming joy of Simeon and Anna (who witnessed that long awaited baby being presented at the temple) amidst the rush of wrapping, peeling, writing, driving. But we all know how it feels to wait; to long; to need.
We as a church marked this pivotal time with several unmissable events this year.
Beer & Carols
This event never fails to deliver. With a name like that, what could it possibly lack! We were in a new venue this year but it was no less packed. Enthusiastic and mostly tuneful singing, a spectacular Christmas jumper competition and festive snacks galore were the order of the evening. We even found a lady called Carol! What a night.
But we must not let the grown ups have all the fun. With much enthusiasm, cream pies were thrown, huge, human sized presents were torn apart and heart-shaped balloons spread joy around the hall. Energetic and fun-filled worship interspersed hilarious clips and a thoughtful message: ‘What can I give Jesus?’
As much as the Family Service radiated joy, this time together captured beautifully the wonder and mystery of the season. Again the team worked tirelessly, staging and producing some wonderful media and drama pieces. It did not matter that we could not light candles (we do meet in a school after all), the lighting and sound were stunning. That 2000 year old story seemed closer than ever.
This time tomorrow, we will be celebrating that our King has come for us. The wait is over. Yet in some ways, it has just begun.
One thing we know, He is with us in the waiting, and we have more work to do.