In this season of Advent, we look forward with anticipation and awe to the child of promise, the birth of freedom, the incarnation among us of peace and goodwill.
We sometimes become heavy with the waiting. Our back aches, our ankles swell. It is taking so long, this new creation.
Our belly is heavy, our heart burns, we grow weary with knowing that there is much to be done, labour to be undergone, before the commonwealth of peace and freedom is fully realised in us, and in all people.
We give thanks that, in this special place, in each other’s company, we can find courage and strength.
In this Advent season, the metaphors can fall glibly from our tongues. We can get caught up in the myth, the mystery, the story, and view that image of a newborn baby as the fulfilment of our hopes, rather than the beginning of a lifetime’s responsibility and care.
We give thanks that, in this special place, in each other’s company, we can find the strength to nurture, the courage to love, and be loved.
In this season of wonder and magic, this “family” time, we can so easily use familiar words and images, forgetting that for some of us they may be symbols of pain, not joy. May we be mindful of each other’s realities: that we are not all parents; that not all families are accepting of us, just as we are; that some of us are separated from loved ones,or alone in a world of couples, in this season of families; that we don’t all relate to that image of happy parents by a cradle surrounded by presents and pets.
Yet we give thanks that, in this special place, in each other’s company, we can find fulfilment and acceptance.
In this season of Advent and wonder, we celebrate our covenant to be an inclusive church. We give thanks for these communities we have created. We proudly fly our rainbow banners and decorate our Christmas trees, giving thanks that we are family – extended, reconstituted, recreated – that there is room for us here in our diversity and similarity.
So may it be.