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 Candle 007This is the first part of an essay by the anonymous blogger Archbishop Cramner.  I thought it was a brilliant introduction to Advent.

But we wait not only for the coming baby of ten thousand mince pies and carol services: we live in the sure hope and certain expectation that one day he will come again in power and glory, and the government will be upon his shoulder.

It’s difficult to believe amidst all the suffering and pain that Jesus is present in the world today. Where, exactly? How could he allow this? Why does he do that? What is the logic, reason, rationale for a myriad of other fathomless afflictions and miseries? Bombs, bullets, beheadings, rapes, torture.. Where is Jesus in all this? What about the homeless drug addict on the streets? Does Jesus not love him? What about the suicidal teenager, weeping tears of endless years of neglect? What about the alcoholic father, the despised adulterer, or the abused child sleeping in stench and squalor? Which neighbour shall we ignore this Christmas?

Perhaps we’re looking for him in the wrong place. He’s not in the endless shopping for presents or preparations for parties. He’s not in the cathedrals, candles or carol services. He’s not in the easily affordable fiver you sneak into the collection plate. He’s not even face to face in the pious words of blessing, peace and goodwill. No, Jesus is in our longing for holiness, for truth, for purity and grace. He is in our selfless words of love and sacrificial works of charity. You may be waiting for Jesus to present himself to you, and he may. But he longs much, much more to be present within you.

This is a season of expectation, of hope, of anticipation, of excitement, of preparation, of longing. On this First Sunday of Advent, let us remember the One who one day will rule with truth, justice, righteousness and bring peace to the world.