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Advent. A spoken word about waiting.

This year I was asked to write the opening spoken word for Kings Edinburgh's Carol Service. They asked me to write about waiting for hope, for dawn, for God to turn up and keep His promises. For all faith traditions and none - that wrestle with hope is deeply human. And this year, it seems to have had a sharp edge. I've always found consolation in the humble and messy arrival of Jesus.

Peace to you, wherever you are. None of us are alone in the waiting.

Here's the audio, and I've set out the text below.

Just the dark

Just the dark at the start

of it all.

Just an ache

Just an ache for creation to form

Then you spoke-

Don’t they call that the very first dawn?

LIGHT you said.

And it is good, you said

All as it should

if only it would


But it doesn’t keep,

does it?

The light shudders, it cracks and

it breaks.

Where the earth – had sung – it laments


I heard you made promises

to ramshackle desert wanderers

The renewal of each broken thing.

To the childless, a son and a -


To every edge of the earth


Into my faith, unraveling strings of doubt

Into my doubt, perplexing ribbons of faith

How long will we wait for you?

Watch the dawn for some sight of you?

I waited before but nobody came

I waited for hope but stayed stuck in shame

I’ve tried praying, and then tried again

Asked for healing,

don’t know how to again.

My soul waits- watching the horizon for day.

The long wait is emptying me,

money weighs heavily

leaders lead senselessly

it’s hard to ask endlessly -

doesn’t hope make a fool of me?

I’ve learnt to hope carefully

You said you would set me free.

So I trust, though I cannot see.

Stand this ground

and hope

with all of me

That there’s grace spun through history

and your promise is holding me.


In the quiet

In the quiet like the start of it all

It’s still dark-

It’s still night, but I watch all the more

There’s a star – in the east – the faint sight of it starting to form.

- Hear a cry-

The cry of someone just born.

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