Life-giver, Pain-bearer, Love-Maker—
Sometimes our lives seem like an endless Advent: always waiting, getting ready, hustling, preparing, showing the way…
Waiting for the big moment, the fulfilment, the dream come true. How long, we ask, how long?
When will there be peace on earth, when will poverty be history? When will our inbox be full of good news and our posts full of happy hash tags? How long until we share slogans of joy and good news instead of protesting hate speech?
How long before we need no Awareness Ribbons*, white or red or green?
We hold in our hearts families forced to seek refuge with sometimes hostile neighbours; those for whom a hay-filled stable would be luxury compared with life on the street or in detention camps.
We think of those for whom the season of celebration means stealthy escape to women’s refuge; children taken into foster care, at midnight, by strangers: police or CYFS workers, not knowing the carers, wondering why they’re not at home, why was mummy crying, where’s my sister or brother, what made daddy mad? —little ones who’ve never owned first-hand clothes or a toothbrush or a book.
We think of those, in this community and beyond, for whom December brings the anniversary of tragedy: loved ones lost on the roads, on railway tracks or at the beach.
We hold in our hearts those who will be alone for the first time this Christmas, following death of a partner, loss of a child, divorce or separation; relocation to a different town or aged care unit;
and we think of those who find it difficult to resist the thoughtless colleagues offering alcohol; those with eating disorders, expected to over-indulge as part of the family’s tradition; those with social anxiety who’d rather be anywhere than at a party.
This Advent, may we be the promised kept, the word made flesh, the kingdom come – not just on high and holy days, but in ordinary times as well.
This year, may we enjoy this time of preparation, thrilling to angel song and sparkling lights, Snoopy’s Christmas and Silent Night; may the little boy drum for us, and the wise ones’ gifts be ours, as we birth each day the Christ of synagogue and stable.
Let us be the gift we long for, after the paper’s discarded and the cards are put away; may we be part of the world’s healing, be the love that keeps on loving, joy in our world, day after day.
So may it be.
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* Awareness Ribbons
Red: HIV/AIDS awareness, AIDS Foundation (NZ)
White: ending violence against women (NZ)
Green: mental health and illness, depression
For details, see here