December 2020 

Written by Rev Sandi Wickens - Curate of Rotherfield with Mark Cross

Finally the waiting is over. 

The TV highlight of the year is revealed.

No, it’s not the winner of Bake Off (I’m rooting for Hermine). No, it’s not the winner of Strictly (who will you be voting for?). The TV highlight I’ve been waiting to be revealed is (insert drum roll) the Christmas ads from the ‘top gun’ supermarkets (see what I did there? Aldi).

Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot has taken to the air in daring Top Gun style but disaster happens when his haphazard co-pilot Turkey hits the ejector seat button: #whereiskevin. Meanwhile, with Christmas dinner on the table, Kevin’s family wait for him at home. Littlest carrot declares “it’s not Christmas ‘til my daddy gets home.”

2020 has been a year of waiting for all of us. We’ve been waiting for many kinds of news – the Prime Minister’s COVID-19 announcements and press briefings, local news with daily figures as we watch the COVID levels rise and fall. We’ve waited for news from loved ones and friends, for food deliveries and in queues outside shops. And now we’re waiting to hear what of our cherished family Christmas rituals, the memories we treasure and perpetuate, can go ahead.

One thing is for sure, 2020 has shown us how creative we can be and has dragged many of us to embrace technology in a way we never thought we could – thank God for telephones, TV’s and the internet. Using technology we have joined in weddings, funerals, birthdays (and literally birth days for families with new babies). We’ve worshipped online from our living rooms and joined in with bible studies, afternoon teas and many community groups. We’ve celebrated exam results, school and college and university places. And a shout out for our hardworking Posties and Couriers who have unknowingly presented certificates celebrating academic achievement and brought other news to our doorsteps and through our letter boxes.

All of this has taken place to the silent backdrop of months rolling by and seasons coming and going. And now Advent rolls quietly in. It’s a season of waiting, almost with baited breath, through the days of December until the joyful celebration of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ. This year we have the added uncertainty which waiting in the midst of COVID has brought. As hard as it sometimes is to wait for things, there is purpose in our waiting for Christmas. It’s a time of preparation which has developed into a busy time of thinking about, buying, and delivering gifts for our loved ones. Just as importantly Advent is a time and space for us to prepare ourselves for spiritually, mentally and physically for Christmas; to take some time and have space for ourselves to consider what it’s all really about. Advent is our invitation to pause and ponder the events of Jesus’ birth and the difference this makes to our lives. 

‘Hope’ is one difference knowing Jesus makes for me. In every circumstance of my life, hope that with Jesus the best is yet to come has been a solid foundation which has held me secure. Hope has brought light to dark days. Hope has made my joy more complete. This advent, as we wait to celebrate Christmas in the best and safest way we are able, may we each find renewed hope in our waiting and watching for Jesus.