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David Penney is the Training & Programme Officer at Boys’ Brigade Northern Ireland, and has volunteered with Habitat, locally & globally. Read his reflection below.

Are you excited about Christmas?  I get excited every year for all things Christmas I look forward to the day that the red cups or festive cups arrive in the coffee shops, when the Christmas tree gets put up, when I hear a Christmas song for the first time or see the Christmas adverts on TV.  We have many moments that mark the countdown to Christmas.

I love Christmas so much, I wait all year for it.  I love Christmas but I don’t enjoy waiting! Waiting is hard.

Have you ever watched Inside the Factory with Gregg Wallace on BBC1? It’s a programme that shows us how the food we all have in our cupboards is made- from chocolates, to biscuits to crisps. It’s a really interesting show. I recently watched an episode looking at how the tea bag is made. It was interesting, like always, but it’s safe to say that my mind was blown by one small tip they shared! I’m not very patient. I usually squeeze the tea bag with a spoon so my tea is ready in 30 seconds, but they did a taste test comparing this to leaving the bag in for 5 minutes.  5 minutes is a long time to wait for a cup of tea! But I thought I would try itI waited, and do you know what? Gregg was right. It tasted so much better because I’d waited. It’s changed my morning cuppa!

I don’t like waiting for much in life- I am not a patient person.  During 2020 we have had to wait a lot- waiting for haircuts, waiting to see family members, waiting to know if school is open or closed. We have had to stay at home and wait for restrictions to change before we can carry on with what we call our normal lives.  This Psalm talks all about waiting.   

Psalm (130:5-7) I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.

In this Psalm, we hear the cry of waiting for the Lord.  It says, ‘my whole being waits.’ That’s a different type of waiting than waiting 5 minutes for the perfect cuppa;This is a longing type of waiting. Have you ever felt that type of longing? Perhaps this difficult year has been a year of longing for you.

What is the job of a watchman? To watch, and wait. That’s all. The writer of the psalm is consumed by watching and waiting for God to move, like the watchman waits for the morning. But the Psalmist also says, ‘In His Word I put my hope.’ A watchman waits in the darkness of the night for the morning to comebut they don’t doubt that it will arrive. They know the night feels long, but they also have full confidence that their watching and waiting will be rewarded with that first glimpse of morning light.

We aren’t good at waiting as humans, I certainly am not and that is no different for me when it comes to God.  It’s difficult to wait even when we know that our God is in control. But like the watchmen trust that the morning will come, we must continue to hold on to that hope given to us in God’s word, that He is in control, He has our lives sketched out. We maybe can’t see the end result of what way a situation is going, and that’s difficult but we know that Hwalks with us and has a plan for us.  We have the hope that God’s unfailing love brings.

Hebrew 6:19 says “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure”.  Our hope is secure and immovable, anchored in God.

My prayer for you today is that you put your hope in God, and trust him.

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father; as we await the long-awaited morning; we pray we continue to trust in You in the darkness. We think of all those who Habitat serve; who longingly wait for a new start; a safe home; security of shelter; a fresh start. May you O Lord bless Habitat that they continue to be a light in the darkness bringing hope to many more in 2021. Amen.

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Read more Advent reflections here.

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