Hallwood Ecumenical Parish
Bethesda, Palace Fields & St. Mark’s, Beechwood
Church of England – Methodist – United Reformed Church
28 November 2021
Today, children around the world will be opening the first window of their Advent calendar. These days they are more likely to find a chocolate than a picture from the nativity story, but along with all the other Christmas preparations taking place this month, it contributes to a sense of expectation. This will peak on Christmas Eve, when many children will try and stay awake long enough to hear sleigh bells and reindeer hooves on the roof, sounds they believe will herald the arrival of Father Christmas bringing presents. But, of course, they don’t know what time Santa will come, and they won’t manage to stay awake long enough!
Within the New Testament there is a sense of expectation. To stay alert and ready, ‘that salvation is nearer now than when we first believed’ and of the Son of Man coming ‘like a thief in the night’. Other passages warn that wars, international conflicts, famines, and earthquakes will herald the coming of the Son of Man. There is the continual challenge to stay awake and be ready while at the same time continue with their everyday lives.
Two thousand years later we are still waiting for Jesus to come again and we still don’t know when or how it will be. But surely Christ comes every day. He comes in bread and wine of Holy Communion; if we look through all the glitz and feasting, in just over three weeks he will come as the baby in the manger – if we are alert enough to notice Christ will come again and again. In different ways for different people – through scripture and sacraments, through music and silence, through prayer and service to others, in church and in our everyday lives. And, as we wait for his final return, it is through his coming again and again and again, and our response to that coming, that his kingdom will continue to be established. But we must stay awake, we must pay attention or we may fail to notice.
Rev’d Ken Davey