Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
Welcome as we come for worship on this Fourth Sunday of Advent with only 5 more sleeps left until Christmas Day.
This brings to mind the Christmas song ‘It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.’ Yet this year does have in many ways a different feel about it. With still high amounts of COVID cases in the US, the UK, Europe and other places and a growing cluster on the Northern Beaches of Sydney causes uneasiness and disruption inn the lead up to this Christmas. There are many families who will have lost loved ones during this year, or who are seriously ill this Christmas. I say this not to be negative and morose, but to recall the reality of life into which the true spirit of Christmas can still break through.
This true spirit is about God making a home amongst the people and life of the world. Our passage today from 2 Samuel helps to give us hope that this is truly the case: “The Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.” The Lord’s house is not so much a building, but a place in the human heart. Such a place has come among us in the presence of Jesus, whose birth into the world we celebrate in just a few days.
A question posed by ‘The Living Word’ in relation to this is well worth pondering: “How can we be more fully the house of God as we go forth to love and serve the Lord this Christmas? We remember that the first house of Jesus was a stable and that he had to rely on the shelter offered by strangers. Are we able to take this as our model for the Christian life? How might we welcome others this Christmas into the home of our hearts?”
May you journey well with Christ’s coming among us this week.
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.