Well here we are, almost at the end of what has been an unprecedented year in so many ways. Our thoughts will soon shift from finishing up to preparing for the activities of Christmas. Hopefully, this Christmas season will be a lovely time of reconnecting with the people we love and with whom we have not shared as much time as we normally would. We have faced challenges we would not have expected. We have had freedoms taken from us we would never have considered possible. So much has changed and we have realised afresh something we do not like to admit – that we have less control over our lives than we think. That a virus commencing many thousands of kilometres away could actually impact my life and that of my family, as well as fairly much everyone on the planet, was a reminder that our ability to control our own lives is quite tenuous.
This year has raised all sorts of questions. Who we can trust? What is important? What can we live without? What can we not live without? In the midst in these and other questions, the central message of Christmas about God dwelling in the midst of his people is especially poignant. One of the names given to Jesus was Immanuel which means ‘God is with us’. In the celebrations of life, we can say, ‘God is with us’, and when things seem to be falling apart, we can still make the same affirmation. Times of hardship can cause us to look beyond ourselves because we are confronted with our own inadequacy. As we do, we may well discover the sustaining presence of God, whose peace in difficult times is hard to explain, but nonetheless very real. When a teenaged Mary held her first born nearly 2000 years ago in a stable in Bethlehem, she held the very presence of God who fully identified with his people.
May you and your family experience God’s peace and presence throughout this Christmas season. It has been a difficult year, and so to experience God’s peace is a precious gift he offers to all.
Grace and peace,
Senior School Chaplain