Today, staffing the Christmas Market tombola, I watched people wait. 

Young fingers, too excited to unfold the small pink ticket. Old fingers, arthritic, trembling; apologising for taking a long time to reveal the number. Pleasure at a win, however trivial. Mothers and grandmothers and Dads and granddads carefully helping toddlers count out their four goes. And children as happy with the consolation pick of a Quality Street as with a ‘real’ prize. Adults, too – perhaps surprised to be offered something they’d seen the children have. 

The simple pleasure of anticipation as the winning or losing tickets are examined. Those who take one ticket at a time, inspect, then repeat. Those who dive in and take all four at once, with an grin or apology for the accidental fifth as it’s returned to the drum. 

We all wait differently. 

Today was quietly moving. 

Tomorrow, we officially begin waiting. Not for a trivial prize but for the greatest gift of all. 

How blessed am I to begin Advent with today’s experience of noticing fingers. Noticing people; seeing how different we all are as we approach the same game. Because in amongst the tombola and the raffle and the cakes and the bric-a-brac and the chutneys and the crafts and Santa and the brass band and the Brownies… there, right in the middle of the hustle and the busle, I see fingers moving. And through the young fingers and the old fingers and the friends’ fingers and the strangers’ fingers, Jesus reminds me why I am there. 

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