Advent (by Hannah Langford)

This year we are waiting,
This year we are hoping,
Daring to dream of a world beyond the virus,
Approaching Advent with a different type of yearning,
A heightened sense of searching,
For the baby who will bring joy into our world.

This year and every year,
We remember the story,
Of a baby wrapped in cloths and lying amongst the straw.

We remember the story of Mary and Joseph,
Frightened, tested, yet resolute,
Following God’s plan and not counting the personal cost,
Journeying on a donkey,
Not to a place of comfort,
But to a stable, rustic and bare,
Nevertheless, remaining faithful,
And holding the hope for humankind in their arms.

We remember the story of the shepherds,
Hearing the news from the angels,
Starting out afraid, then being filled with wonder and joy,
Summoning the courage to set out on their journey,
A pilgrimage to meet the light of the world,
A mere baby, yet one who would save us all from sin, darkness and despair.

We remember the wise men who came later, guided by the stars,
Who pondered and discovered the meaning of it all.
They too went to worship the baby Jesus,
With treasures from afar,
Knowing the significance of that very same baby,
Not just on that Christmas Day all those years ago,
But for you and for me,
This Advent and always.

So, this year, whether you are in a bubble or outside one,
Whether you are working on the frontline,
Or whether you are doing your bit from home,
Amongst your neighbours, family and friends,
By wearing a mask, washing your hands and (only physically) staying apart,
Know that the Christ Child is drawing near to you and to me,
Remember the true meaning of Christmas
And hold it close.

Hold onto the baby at the heart of Christmas,
Treasure those you love – whether in the flesh or via the telephone and Zoom
And hold onto the hope of that same, ever-radiant light,
Represented by the baby Jesus all those years ago,
The flame that cannot be extinguished,
That will, if you let it, illuminate our darkness
Our world,
Now and forever.
Hannah Langford

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