As I sat with my partner at mass on the first Sunday of Advent (Saturday evening) there was this little buzz of excitement as I watched the first advent candle being lit. A little flame flickered and ignited a very real sense of hope. A little jolt of excitement that told me something very wonderful was happening. A spark of nervous anticipation.

There is something about Advent this year which feels different, it feels special, uncertain, and brimming with potential – something is going to happen.

It’s the first year, that I am aware of, that I’ve had an awareness of the hope and expectation of Advent. Not Christmas, but Advent, this time of uncertainty, the time of promise.

I’m not going to try and name what that hope might be, but instead I want to hold it and see where it leads me, to see what it reveals as I journey through this season of preparation, watching and waiting in wonder.

I’m sure some of you are staring at this and thinking – that’s what Advent is all about…

But for me this is new. It could be because I didn’t start planning Christmas back in the summer – with nativity scripts, or service planning. I don’t have unending lists of carol services to wade through, or the juggling of crib, Christingle services, and school plays. And I haven’t had the same Christmas music playing since the 1st Dec (sorry to all those working in retail with one tape on repeat).

There is a newness, a gift of possibility in the air, that finds it’s beginning in the manger at the stable which welcomed stranger and foreigner.

This is where my advent journey has begun this year – with that small spark of excited anticipation which breaks though the chaos and noise of the lives we live and the world in which we live.

I wonder where your journey began this year? As you look upon the nativity scene and hear the familiar Advent readings, what is it that stirs inside you this year?

Rev Samantha Sheehan


picture – writer’s own