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Sunday is the first Sunday in Advent, that special time of waiting.
As Christians, we wait to celebrate again the birth of Christ and to hear once again that often told story of a baby and a manger.
We have heard it many times, yet it never loses its charm.
However, this Christmas will be dramatically different from any Christmas we have ever had. Usually we look forward to the Christmas lights and decorations brightening up the dark winter nights and bringing hope and cheer.
This year, we wait and wonder. We wonder what level our area will be in, we wonder what level our family and friends will be in, we wonder if we will be able to see them or have them in our homes or go to their homes.
We wonder. We watch the news and hope restrictions will be eased, but we are afraid of that too, as this could lead to the virus spreading. So we wait and watch and wonder – a bit like the shepherds of old, gathered on the hillside, waiting and watching and wondering.
It has been a tough few months and for many it has been a gruelling and harrowing few months.
How do we celebrate in such times?
Yet, I have heard so many people say: ‘Well I’m going to put up my tree and I’m going to do it early to bring some cheer into our lives.’
We are a people of hope, even in the darkest days.
We wait in the darkness for we know that even the darkest night has the first streaks of dawn to lighten the sky.
So as we approach the time of preparing to welcome the Christ child once again, we will wait hopefully.