Normally, when we get to this Fourth Sunday of Advent, I’m almost buzzing with the anticipation of Christmas being less than a week away. The season of Advent has always gradually raised the anticipation levels, until I truly feel ready to welcome the Christ-child in a few days time.
This year, though, is different. And it’s health that’s getting in the way. I’ve been having a difficult time with my Angina — it’s the nature of the beast that it is cyclical. But now, despite both of us having our flu jabs, Liz and I have both come down with a dose of flu. Neither of us feel anything like ready for Christmas. Liz has had to miss the last week of school, when all the Christmas productions and parties have been happening. And, apart from managing the Advent Carol service, it has been quite some time since I’ve been able to get to Church. And I can’t tell you just how much I’m missing it.
Paul Routledge, on the Daily Mirror website yesterday, asked the question, “Is this the grimmest Christmas in living memory?” What he writes certainly does make for pretty grim reading, and makes my personal problems pale into insignificance — not that that stops me from feeling absolutely awful.
But Paul finishes his article on a positive note, something I’m kinda struggling to do; here are a couple of his final paragraphs:
But there are things that we can do without the politicians, and I hope Christmas 2008 will come to be seen as a watershed – not in dizzying levels of spending on the high street, but in the revitalisation of family and community values.
When Britons’ backs are to the wall, we have an amazing capacity to look to each other, to improvise, to reject the trashy unreality of consumerism.
Perhaps that’s one way we might see the Christ-child coming in glory this year, despite all the doom and gloom surrounding us, in the “revitalisation of family and community values”. And that would be no bad thing, would it?
as Mary waited for the birth of your Son,
so we wait for his coming in glory;
bring us through the birth pangs of this present age
to see, with her, our great salvation
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Additional Collect for The Fourth Sunday of Advent
is Copyright © The Archbishops Council