It was the 10th November. We had driven back to Norfolk from the North West and arrived in Hoveton to find Roy’s bedecked with Christmas trees and lights – we had already bemoaned the appearance on TV of Christmas adverts during that week! It seems these days we are always trying to “get ahead” – Christmas starts in November (or earlier!), Easter eggs will appear in January; the “Black Friday” sale now seems to start several weeks before its “last Friday of November” single day that it started from.
Have you noticed how often people say “I can’t wait”, when they are excited about something? The reality is that they have no choice but to wait – we haven’t yet found the secret of time travel. How many times were you told as child that “patience is a virtue”? Some might say the last year has gone very slowly, especially during the periods of lockdown. Others will tell you that the year seems to have flown by: have I really been your minister for nearly 11 months now?
The prophet Habakkuk makes various “complaints” to God. And to the second one, God replies:
Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. [Hab 2:3]
By the time you read this, we will be in the church season of Advent, a time of preparation for the celebration of the coming of Jesus: Emmanuel, God with us – God became flesh and lived among us. Let us be eager in anticipation, to celebrate His birth, and to desire the fulfilment of the Kingdom He came to proclaim. Remember the words of Habakkuk, above: “wait for it, it will come and will not prove false”.
In Isaiah 40:31 we read “but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength” or, as a songwriter puts it “Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord”.
So I encourage you to be patient, to earnestly desire and pray for God’s presence, but to rest assured that in your waiting, there is a promise that will not prove false.
May the peace of the Christ-child be yours this Christmas.