St. Michael’s Vicarage

Dear People of Alnwick,

“Patience is a virtue –possess it if you can.
It’s seldom found in women – and never in a man!”

So goes a well-known rhyme. But patience is one of the requirements of the Christian – and not least during the season of Advent, the four weeks which lead us into our celebrations of Christmas.

”Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him” says the psalmist (Psalm 37:7) and so we must try to master the art of patient waiting.

This is an entirely different form of waiting from the anxiety which comes with waiting to hear if a loved one who is travelling on a long journey has reached their destination or the worry of waiting for examination results. It is quite different too from the frustration of waiting for a delayed train to arrive or even waiting for a coat of paint to dry in order that the next one may be applied.

Waiting patiently before the Lord with a quiet excitement and expectancy brings its own special rewards – and no more so than in the days of Advent which are pregnant with anticipation.

In church, the hymns, the prayers and the readings of Advent – especially the rich and stirring prophecies of Isaiah – help us to prepare in our hearts for the most wonderful gift of all: the gift of God’s great love when he sent his own Son to earth in the form of a fragile human being.

So if, over the coming days, your patience is tried to its limits, remember that it can be restored to fullness by waiting with a different sort of patience – the patience of watching in prayer with which we may prepare ourselves to sing with renewed vigour at Christmas:

“Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth.”

A few years ago Bishop Stephen Cottrell wrote a little Advent book entitled “Do nothing …Christmas is coming”. Doing nothing in the run up to the festival may be asking a little too much – but finding a few minutes each day to wait patiently, joyfully and expectantly for the coming of Jesus into our hearts and lives at Christmas will reap real rewards for us as individuals and as a community of believers.

With every blessing for an Advent of prayerful anticipation and a Christmas filled with the peace and goodwill that can only come from waiting patiently before the Lord.


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