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Anticipation and Joy.

By Rachel

Advent – I love this precious and rich time of year.

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A time to decorate the Christmas tree and hang the fairy lights, a time to plan the Christmas meal menu, a time to buy and wrap presents – a time of building anticipation. As a child, I thought anticipation was the painful period of ‘waiting’ till I could get my hands on the presents under the tree. But I have since learnt that great joy can be found in the anticipation.

Christmas Eve Service Whitby Porirua
The Anchor Church

I remember when I read James Dobson’s warning to parents not to rob their children of the joy of anticipation. Like don’t buy the bicycle before they ask for one, guilty, that’s why I remember the example!  This was new concept to me. As I have practised this attitude, I have come to appreciate that a gift longed for, hoped for and dreamed of does indeed bring great joy and delight to the receiver. But all that joy can be diminished, even ruined, by a gift that doesn’t live up to expectations. A gift that was off the mark, a tense and stressful family dinner, a day ending with a heap of discarded wrapping paper and a bench full of dishes.

But that is precisely why I love this advent period . . . because there is one Gift given that was Greater than all others. One Gift that, despite the hundreds of years of anticipation, lived up to and exceeded the hopes and dreams of all humanity.  And as advent begins again for us, we get to anticipate and then celebrate anew the Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love of God. This love was embodied as our Saviour Jesus (beautifully put in the Jesus Storybook Bible).

Some verses from the Bible

The people who walk in darkness will see a great Light; Isaiah 9v2

For to us a Child shall be born, to us a Son shall be given; And the government shall be upon His shoulder, And His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9v6

All of us like sheep have gone astray, we have turned, each one, to his own way; But the Lord has caused the wickedness of us all to fall on Him. Isaiah 53v5-6

He will swallow up death for all time. And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, And He will take away the disgrace of His people from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 25v8

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