Posted: 30 November 2014

Archbishop Justin Welby welcomes us to Advent

We work with children who are waiting for many things. This year, Archbishop Justin Welby joins a fantastic team of Advent calendar contributors to remind us that ‘for the children … it can seem like endless waiting – like days of sitting in an aeroplane without getting closer to our destination.’

Be sure to join us for a new post each day of Advent.

Aeroplanes and Advent

I worked out recently that in the last year and a half I have spent over 11 days sitting in aeroplanes. That means I’ve probably spent another day or two on top of that sitting in airports waiting for planes. That’s a lot of time to spend waiting around, but I did it for a good reason. In the last year and a half I have been visiting the lead archbishops and bishops of the different provinces of the Anglican Communion right around the world. I’ve travelled to Australia and to Zambia – and to most of the alphabet in between.

If you want to build strong relationships with people, you need to meet them face-to-face. You need to go to where they live and that can take time. Time for preparation and time spent waiting on the way. I’m glad I took that time, because now I have seen for myself the powerful witness to Christ that is shared around the world by the churches of the Anglican Communion. I have prayed with them, I’ve seen how they serve the poor and vulnerable, and I have started to get to know the people God has called to lead them in that ministry. The time it took me to travel is insignificant compared to the amazing commitment to the Gospel I have seen in churches around the world.

God’s determination to get to know us is so strong it puts our own efforts to get to know each other into the shade. Eleven days on aeroplanes is nothing compared to how God has kept on loving us down through the generations. When God sent His son, Jesus Christ, to live among us, He gave us a completely new way of getting to know Him. When we live in Christ, we are made new by the transforming power of God’s love for us. There is no other relationship quite as special as the one Jesus offers us – it has the power to change our lives and the lives of those around us.

This Advent we will take time to pray and to get ready to celebrate with joy Christ’s coming at Christmas, as we do each year. For the children we know (even if not the adults) it can seem like endless waiting – like days of sitting in an aeroplane without getting closer to our destination. So perhaps in our prayers as we begin this Advent, we might remember how long God has waited for us to come to Him. 

  Loving God,
  Sometimes we are slow to come to you,
  Yet we find when we come that you were always with us.
  Enable us to travel towards you this Advent,
  Trusting that you are waiting to receive us.
  Surround us with your patient love,
  And open our hearts to welcome your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.
  Amen.

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Posted: 30 November 2014