At Christmas, we celebrate an interruption to our ordinary existence and to what we had planned for life. The birth of Jesus was a disruption for Mary and Joseph: a challenging one that threatened their relationship and their standing in their community.
Yet it was a disruption that gave them purpose, hope and fulfilment like they had not known, nor probably thought possible.
The early church balanced this theme of great disruption by identifying the life of Jesus as a fulfilment of the hope of Israel. The Apostle Paul, the Gospel writers, and other writers of the New Testament all point to the birth, life, and ministry of Jesus as being completely in line with the revelation of God in the Old Testament and the hope of Israel.
As Jesus’ life panned out, we encountered God amongst us, the child became a man, and his life became a gift for us all, a gift that still gives life and hope to the world today.
How will our celebrating bear witness to our conviction that hope has a name and that name is Jesus? Will there be space at the family table for others? Will we commit to giving time and effort to enable others to experience the source of our hope?
One of the ways our family will be sharing our hope is by giving gifts that bless others.
Give the gift of faith to young people in regional, rural and remote Queensland; or the gift of hope to asylum seekers in Queensland or the gift of love to Indigenous children in Uniting Church schools. Every gift will take us closer to our mission to enrich the lives of those around us.
Christmas celebrates the new journeys—sometimes profoundly challenging yet always hopeful—our lives take when they are interrupted by God’s purposes.
My prayer is that we will be in a place where God can break through, where new journeys of faith can happen for us. If you hang around a Uniting Church, you’ll give God the best opportunity to bring you to the place of experiencing hope and it will be a hope for all creation. That hope will probably mess with your plans somewhat. That’s been my experience!
But sometimes, like Mary, we see clearly only later, after much reflection. Yet in the life of Jesus, we know that hope is present amongst us, and that this hope has a name.
Rev David Baker
Moderator, Queensland Synod