Our Fourth Advent Reflection Provided By A Member Of The Link Board.
In a recent BBC interview, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, spoke movingly about his time serving as a volunteer chaplain in a hospital during the covid pandemic. In those moments of being with and praying with people who were critically ill, in his words, he learned so much about the love of God for every single human being - whoever they are, wherever they are, whatever they are like.
When asked about how he would pray in those difficult and tragic situations, he related how he felt it was important to express lament. And he would pray for God to come and be present with those who were ill and their family, to look on them with love and to receive them into his house.
In challenging and dark times, in a fallen and broken world, the Light of God’s love shines and reaches out.
The circumstances of Jesus’ birth could hardly have been more humble. God’s Son was born of Mary, in an unrecorded location in a small unremarkable town, and he was wrapped in cloths and placed in an animal feeding trough for his bed.
God sent his Son to live amongst us and show us the very being of God. But, most of all, Jesus’ coming reveals God’s great love for the world. John, one of Jesus’ closest followers, tells us that God showed his love amongst us by sending Jesus so that through him we would have life, life in all its fulness. God’s love reaches, and makes its home, in all places. His love reaches out to each of us and into our world with all its messiness.
John also tells us that “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us”.
John was present when Jesus gave a new commandment to his disciples at the Passover meal before his death: Jesus told them to “Love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”.
As we receive God’s love, we are to be channels of his grace to the world around us. To love God and to love neighbour.
This Christmas, let us give thanks for God’s amazing love revealed through Jesus. And give thanks for the many expressions of this love by churches, organisations and individuals in our own community and further afield, bringing hope, peace and joy to a world in need.
Let us also take time to reflect on how much God loves each one of us; and then reflect on how we who experience such love can reach out in his name to bless others.
We hope you have a safe and peaceful Christmas.