You may recall a song written by the Fisher folk which includes the line “And all creation’s straining on tiptoe just to see, the sons of God, come into their own.” How often do we see children straining on tiptoe to get the best view? To see the Christmas tree lights hanging across the high street or Father Christmas. As adults we have often lost that sense of anticipation and wonder which we see in children at Christmas as they wait.
Well, the Christmas lights have gone up and the Christmas Markets are open and as Christmas arrives for the world the church goes into a time of waiting. We don’t like to wait and maybe that is why we have lost that sense of anticipation. We are so used to reducing waiting because we see so little value in it.
However, waiting is not a passive act. Take for example during pregnancy where waiting is anything but inactive it is nurturing, it is full of hope and has value in its own right and it is anything but passive.
As we wait to celebrate again Emmanuel – God with us – we wait for that day when we will see his kingdom come in full. In celebrating what happened in the past in the birth of Christ, we hope for a future when death and suffering are no more. But for now this hope breaks into our present and calls us to be Christ to others in the world.
We see the face of Christ in the work of those who will be running food banks and soup kitchens, not just at Christmas but throughout the year, such as The Living Room project on page 1. We see the face of Christ in those providing shelter and housing not just at Christmas but all year round. We see the face of Christ in those who are welcoming the refugee not just in this season but throughout the year. We should with anticipation look for signs of God’s kingdom in our midst.
So let us actively wait reaching out to the hungry, the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee, the naked, the sick and all those whom Jesus longs to touch. To become messengers of God’s love ‘straining on tiptoe just to see, the sons of God, come into their own’.
Rt Rev Sarah Mullally, Bishop of Crediton