I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Psalm 130: 5-6 from a Song of Ascents
To wait is a hard sweet paradox in the Christian life. It is hard not yet having what we know will be coming. But it is sweet to have certainty it is coming because of what we have already been given. Like the labor of childbirth, we groan knowing what it will take to get there, and we are full to brimming already.
The waiting won’t be easy; it will often be painful to be patient, staying alert to possibility and hope when we are exhausted, barely able to function. Others won’t understand why we wait, nor do they comprehend what we could possibly be waiting for. We must not wait like Herod waits, with dread and suspicion, willing to destroy what he cannot control.
Yet we persevere together, with patience, watching and hoping, like Mary and Joseph, like Elizabeth and Zechariah, like the shepherds, like the Magi of the east, like Simeon and Anna in the temple.
This is the meaning of Advent: we are a community groaning together in sweet expectation of the breaking dawn of morning.
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
How do you capture the wind on the water?
How do you count all the stars in the sky?
How do you measure the love of a mother
Or how can you write down a baby’s first cry?
Chorus: Candlelight, angel light, firelight and star-glow
Shine on his cradle till breaking of dawn
Silent night, holy night, all is calm and all is bright
Angels are singing; the Christ child is born
Shepherds and wise men will kneel and adore him
Seraphim round him their vigil will keep
Nations proclaim him their Lord and their Saviour
But Mary will hold him and sing him to sleep
Find him at Bethlehem laid in a manger
Christ our Redeemer asleep in the hay
Godhead incarnate and hope of salvation
A child with his mother that first Christmas Day
~John Rutter “Candlelight Carol”