A beginning of the church's year, just as the rest of world descends into the commercial chaos of Christmas celebrations and purchase.
We try hard for this to be a time of year for waiting, for preparation, for holding onto the richness of the darkening nights and the browning hillsides.
What are we waiting for?
For God to come and make it all well? For the Christ child to be born? For light to come into the world? It can be a tiring wait, as the millenia start to click by. And what are the people of the world waiting for? It's not a Messiah they look for now: it's to be loved, to be fulfilled, to be assured of their worth and self-respect.
Which the gospel that we serve brings.
We wait for the sonorous tones of, 'In the beginning was the Word...' and we can know that we ARE loved, we are fulfilled, we are worthy of respect. All from the God who became human, ever distant and close enough to touch.
We really are waiting for rather a lot. And it is here among us already...