This Advent is a strange one at the Mission. In recent weeks we have faced a whole series of goodbyes and ‘last of..’ services. The last Harvest, the last Remembrance Sunday, the last Mission Anniversary, and now we’re looking into the approach to the last Christmas. And even the last ever service on January 03 2010.
The last of everything that we will do in this existing building before we demolish it in the Spring to make space for Skainos.
It means therefore, that Advent is a particularly poignant one this year. Ordinarily, this is the season that lasts for four Sundays, before culminating in the celebration of Christmas Day. It’s a season of waiting, of anticipation and of hope, and it comes at the blackest time of the year. It feels like a long wait which only sharpens the anticipation, like the icy temperatures that chill us and drive us indoors. Then the day comes, when our hopes are realised, and our waiting ends and the anticipation finishes gloriously in the birth of the Christ child.
Normally, it’s only four weeks.
At EBM this year we entered Advent at the regular time, but this year it won’t end on Christmas Day. This is the year of the long Advent. We leave behind our church building and enter a extended period of waiting and hoping and anticipation, which will only end when the construction work is done and we can enter the newness of Skainos. We will be ready to receive it then, like the longest hoped for gift on Christmas Day. Like the shiny bike we received that day that still sparkles in our memory.
But we must wait.