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Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Start:Stop - Advent waiting

Bible reading

Take heed, watch; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Watch therefore--for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning-- lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Watch." (Mark 13:33-37)


Advent is a time of watching and waiting. Waiting to celebrate the first coming of Christ and reflecting on our wait for his second coming. Waiting is a common experience; one that used to characterise the British as we were known for our ability to wait patiently in queues. Now that would seem to have changed, as adverts claim that impatience is a virtue.

Alan Stewart, a clergy friend, has written a meditation which helps us reflect on our common experiences of waiting. He begins:

Waiting for news / News you long for / News you fear / Waiting for answers
Waiting to rejoice / With tears of laughter / Tears of regret / Waiting to grieve
Waiting to remember / Waiting to forget
Waiting to greet / or to say goodbye / Waiting to embrace / or to push away

He ends: Waiting for God / And in the waiting / God waits / With us.

So, God is with us in our waiting. That is the first thing for us to realise and sense. It is something that we see both in the Christmas story and in the wider story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection as I have highlighted in another meditation:

Waiting. / Elizabeth waiting years for the conception of a child.
Waiting. / Mary waiting nine months for the birth of God’s son.
Waiting. / Simeon waiting to see the salvation of Israel.
Waiting. / Eastern visitors following a star, waiting to worship the baby born King of the Jews.
Waiting. / Joseph and Mary living in Egypt waiting for the death of Herod.

So, I conclude: Love waits. / Birth waits. / New life waits. / Revelation waits. / God waits.

Why are we waiting? Why does God wait? The answer that the Bible seems to give is that he is waiting for us to respond to him. W. H. Vanstone wrote: “So it is with the love of God. For the completion of its work, and therefore its own triumph, it must wait upon the understanding of those who receive it. The love of God must wait for the recognition of those who have power to recognise … Recognition of the love of God involves, as it were, the forging of an offering: the offering is the coming-to-be of understanding: only where this understanding has come to be has love conveyed its richest blessing and completed its work in triumph.”

God waits for us; waits for our recognition, understanding and response to his love. So, let us make it our aim and prayer this Advent to see him more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly day by day.


Watchful at all times, let us pray for strength to stand with confidence before our Maker and Redeemer. Let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

Lord, you wait for us to come and see you. You wait to shine light where there is darkness, to show love where there is hate, to share peace where there is conflict, to give hope where there is despair. Let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

Lord, you wait for us to come and see you. Let us gather round the manger to shine your light, to show your love, to share your peace, to give your hope. Let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

Let us come, and remember what has been fulfilled. Let us prepare for what must yet be done. Let us come to the One who waits to show us love. Let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

(Christine Sine)

Almighty God, as your blessed Son Jesus Christ first came to seek and to save the lost; so may he come again to find in us the completion of his redeeming work. Let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.


Christ the Sun of Righteousness shine upon you, scatter the darkness from before your path, and make you ready to meet him when he comes in glory; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.


Steve Bell & Malcolm Guite - Epiphany on the Jordan.

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