Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
2020 has certainly been a year with challenges; starting with bushfires and continuing with COVID 19, with still such risk at large until vaccines come into play and the threatened effects of the virus reduced from our community.
As I think about Christmas this year (and sometimes other years too) it is helpful to realize that just as we face our own challenges as individuals and communities, so too the Holy Family (Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus when born). Mary as a young, unmarried, pregnant mother, Joseph amidst all the uncertainty still wanting to keep safe his betrothed. Their travel to Bethlehem, a birthing in less than ideal circumstances and sometime after, their flight to Egypt in order to avoid a jealous and narcissistic ruler. What hope their courage and determination can give us. Just as the love of God was made incarnate in the ‘Word made flesh dwelling among us,’ so may we too face our continued challenges (which always continue in one form or another).
I pray that Christmas 2020, whilst still perhaps not ideal will continue to inspire us in faith and open our eyes, hearts and hands to whatever needs we find around us. May God continue to be incarnate in us and let us celebrate this Christmas still with much joy.
Yours on the journey,
Rev Cannon Ian Howarth is the Rector of the Anglican Parish of St Paul's Kyneton and St John's Malmsbury and is the team leader of the Central Highlands Cluster.