Advent 4 – 23 December, Christmas 1 – 30 December 2018

G’day. With a Pew Sheet only every other week, I feel that I need to say: blessings for the last Sunday of Advent, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Right, now where? Let’s start with Advent.
As we sit with the expectancy and excitement of what is coming; not just Christmas, but about the expectancy of new life, new goals, new tones and new thought patterns, where are you? As
we prepare to welcome the Christ child again into our midst, our homes and our lives, can you remember that we are a people of the ‘now’ and ‘not yet’? That even when Christmas gets here,
Advent is still a part of our being, our worship and our lives. We constantly live in the hope of God as not yet, whilst realising the reality of God already here. I continue to pray this Advent for peace and unity among humanity and indeed within our families and communities.

Now, Christmas. Christmas provides a unique opportunity each year for us all to re-focus. Not only are we reminded of the awe-inspiring, world-changing, life-altering gift that is Jesus; but we are also reminded of our need for this Jesus to heal us in our brokenness. That is indeed why he came, isn’t it? To bring peace between God and humanity. To be the bridge, when we just can’t make it on our own. This is why the angels declared triumphantly “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14). So, this Christmas, I wish you all the blessings and gifts of not only the season, but also of the new born king, who brings with him, the expectancy of the whole of creation. We sit expectantly on the cusp of breathing, as we again live in the hope of peace supreme. As we celebrate our lives, and the complexity of our existence, let us remember the gift of our saviour, who has given us unfettered access to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, not just for Christmas Day, but for every day since that first Christmas and every day after. Perhaps this Christmas you might like to try and envision the world that Christ imagined. What would that world look like with good will to all humanity, and true and everlasting peace among us all.

And lastly, New Year. What does the new look like for you? Are you one of those people who are glad to see the back of 2018 and live in the hope that 2019 will bring you more happiness or at least some peace. Perhaps you are one who can’t wait for the possibilities of 2019. I might suggest to you, that wherever you sit from these two poles of thought, the world you envision, whatever that may be, cannot become a reality without your help. God calls us to remember every year, the perfection of a gift with no expectation or need for reciprocation, so that we can catch a glimpse of God’s vision for humanity. Can you help? Instead of New Year resolutions which are bust by the end of January. February if you’re lucky, can you think about the lasting and enduring call of Christ to be his people in the world. To give anyway, to love in the face of hate, to forgive 77+ times the annoying person who is driving you mad. Can you let Christs love and vision, cloud your own need to own, conquer, take, ignore or just not care and be for humanity what God envisioned in us, even from when we were created?

I’d like to leave you with this thought. In God, humanity is an absolute delight and joy, all humanity, all people, everywhere. Can you put your bias and bigotry aside in 2019 and let the
hope of Christ in instead? Can you put aside the conflict, and angst of conflict and let the peace of Christ reign and let those awful negative feelings go? Can you turn your sadness into Joy in Christ? And lastly, can you love without judgement? Can you give without exception? Can you take what Christ offers on his birthday every year and give it away, not once, but over and over again?

My prayer for you this end, beginning and not quite yet, is that you realise all these things are already yours, are already God’s greatest gift to you, at no cost and no price, to you all. Just reach out and grab them, then give them away whilst living them yourselves.

Blessings, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year, but more appropriately, Shalom Cheverim (pronounced Haverim); God’s everlasting and enduring peace be with you all.

Donna – Vicar, St Peter’s Wynnum.