My greetings to the entire Wesley Community – past, present and future.
We are now in the Season of Advent, heralding in the Christmas season. It is a story endlessly told of God’s irretrievable commitment to all humankind. However, in our very frenzy-driven commercial environment, it is often a little difficult to talk of the scope of God’s love, reflected for Christians in the birth of Jesus.
That event, heralding in the life Jesus lived, allowed future generations of God’s people to understand the nature of God’s love, charity and forgiveness. It was a point in time where past and present were brought together, but at the same time spoken as an eternal future that still speaks to us today. God’s love, expressed in the life of Jesus, is as real today as it ever was, a love that – when put to the test – is even capable of conquering death itself.
The love that conquers even death tells a myriad of stories – of light conquering darkness and of hope triumphing over fear and discord.
In our times of celebration, we should be reminded that in giving we should give thanks for all that God has done for us, we cannot rest in an attitude of self-satisfaction and rise above selfishness and entitlement, for the cries of the needy and the dispossessed must always be heard.
As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, let us give thanks for the year that has produced in us so many new and challenging opportunities, but also to remember that for many, many more, there is only a sense of emptiness and worthlessness.
We need to mindful of a word from Isaiah, often read in the Season of Advent: “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour…” (Isaiah 61:1)
So important is that prophetic word, it is repeated in Luke’s Gospel coming from the lips of Jesus as he reads the scroll of Isaiah in the Temple at the commencement of his ministry, adding “recovery of sight to the blind” (Luke 4:18) for those claiming to be able to see and know God’s will, but blind to its reality before their very eyes.
May God’s blessings be upon you all, this Season of Advent, heralding in the Christmas season – the season of hope for fulfilment of promise of God. I pray that you may find the joy and relief that comes from sharing in the giving and receiving of Christ’s love with friends and family – and yes – even with perfect strangers.
Have a happy, safe and holy Christmas and an even richer, more fulfilling 2019.
Rev Nalin Perera