What will our gift to the world be this Christmas?
The Advent season is now with us, and as we wait for Christmas to arrive, Andy Bryant urges us to consider our response to God’s wonderful gift.
I write this as COP26 continues in Glasgow. The world is waiting. Will the nations of the world come together to act? And will the decisions they make be big enough and bold enough to make a real and lasting difference? Many island and coastal nations know that they are running out of time; the time for action for them is almost too late. When will the longed-for change happen?
Two thousand years ago, the Jewish people were also waiting, waiting and hoping for God to send his longed-for Messiah to bring them salvation. Once again their land had been occupied, this time by soldiers from the Roman Empire. They longed for the moment God would act and set them free.
A baby born in a stable in an out of the way town like Bethlehem seemed an unlikely beginning for a Messiah. It was an inauspicious start for a saviour of the world, yet Christians dare to claim that the babe in the manger is nothing less that God’s own Son come into the world.
The four weeks leading up to our annual celebration of the birth of Jesus are known as the season of Advent. They are a time of waiting, of reflection and preparation, as we look forward to the celebration of Christmas. It is also a time when we cannot help but think about the present state of the world and how far it is from all that God intended.
But it is not all about waiting for others to act – whether that be God or world leaders gathered in Glasgow. The baby born in the stable comes to call us to build the Kingdom of on Earth, to stand alongside the poor, oppressed and marginalised, and to stand up for peace, equality and justice.
Amidst the presents you give this Christmas, make a gift of yourself to the world. Make a gift of your time and energy to play your part in making a difference, to learn to tread more lightly on this precious planet and to reach in love to those around us.
The child born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago was God’s gift of love to the world. May our response this Christmas, to this most wonderful of gifts, be to pass on that love to those we meet especially those who at this season who may not have much to celebrate.
The picture above is courtesy of pixabay.com
The Revd Andrew Bryant is the Canon for Mission and Pastoral Care at Norwich Cathedral. He was previously Team Rector of Portishead, Bristol, in the Diocese of Bath and Wells, and has served in parishes in the Guildford and Lichfield Dioceses, as well as working for twelve years with Kaleidoscope Theatre, a charity promoting integration through theatre for young adults with Down’s Syndrome.
You can read Andrew's latest blog entry here and can follow him via his Twitter account @AndyBry3.
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