Christmas Rush? Or Something Slower…

8th December 2023

Do you enjoy the season of Advent, the run up to Christmas? Our high street businesses and supermarkets certainly do. They seem to put out decorations and offer us “festive” treats
earlier and earlier each year. This year, the Christmas goods even mingled with the pumpkins and ghouls of Halloween on the shelves, which reminded me unsettlingly of Tim Burton’s animated film, The Nightmare Before Christmas.

I remember my mum telling me that when she was young, her family custom was to put the Christmas decorations up on Christmas Eve and take them down again at Epiphany, on the twelfth night of Christmas. I enjoy seeing the lights during the cold, dark nights of December, but I see there is value too in delaying the celebration and not rushing into Christmas. It is when we lack something for a while that we appreciate having it all the more. It is only when we have really waited for something that we fully
enjoy its arrival.

The theme of our scripture readings this Sunday is very much one of waiting and anticipation. In the reading from Mark’s gospel, John the Baptist announces to the people of Israel that the Messiah they
have been expecting for hundreds of years is finally about to arrive. In the epistle reading, the apostle Peter reassures his readers that there are good reasons behind their wait for the return of the
Messiah, and that it is really not as long as they think. The message both passages communicate is that, yes, the expected time is certainly coming, but now is the time to get ready. The readers must prepare themselves to meet the Lord by pausing to consider what his arrival will mean for them, and by mending their ways.

Friends, shall we take time this Advent to slow down and do the same? I believe we shall appreciate our celebration of Christmas much more richly if we do.

Wishing you a blessed Advent,
Matthew Briggs
Ministry Team Member