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Revd Charlene Smith
This is my second Advent and Christmas working in the hospital, I do have to admit that last year was a surreal experience.
No time for the usual anticipation, not much watching and waiting. It was a busy, event filled time with: Christmas carol singing on the wards and in the atrium with various groups, Christmas jumpers, handing out Christmas cards to patients and staff and endless chocolates on offer. We were treated to a three course Christmas dinner in the staff canteen, with the Mayor of Wakefield acting as DJ in the corner. We had festive coffees from the coffee shop with hand written joyful messages on the lids, a visit from Santa (a professional highlight I might add) and singing in the rain with Chris Kamara all whilst dressed as an elf.
This year I am more prepared to appreciate the beautiful reminder that the anticipation of the Christ child breaks through even in the most exciting and surreal circumstances. The hospital creates new ways of anticipation, in expectancy we talk about Christmas, we decorate our wards and offices, and we send each other Christmas messages. We offer each other hospitality with warm drinks and chocolates. We do what we can to bring a smile to patients and staff. It might not be conventionally Advent, but was the birth of Christ conventional?
The sacred and the secular at the hospital are a mystery of grace and blessing. Moments when we can immerse ourselves in the ministry of Christ and moments when to witness mercy and compassion. Amongst the tinsel and trimmings there is the expectation of Jesus’ birth, there is also the pain and suffering of the sick and vulnerable. The busy hospital is a place of anticipation, a place of watching and waiting. A place of hope. This is our Advent message, as the Christ child breaks into our lives at Christmas, we find new hope for the world.
As we prepare for our Advent season this year, let us embrace all that comes our way (the sacred and the secular) and look for the moments of anticipation and give joyful thanks.
Have a wonderful and blessed Advent!
Revd Charlene Smith
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