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The Moderator’s Christmas message- Hope

There is a particular wonder about seeing wrapped presents under the Christmas tree.  These presents could contain the very thing that your heart most desires, or they could contain a pair of novelty socks! What they represent, though, is something that the human spirit cannot do without, and that is Hope.  The Apostle Paul is clear in his writings that hope is a vital characteristic of the people of God.  Paul’s definition of hope is found in Romans 8: 24, where he says,  “hope that is seen is not hope at all, for who hopes for what they already have”. To me, Advent is the pinnacle of this unseen hope. 

There is the hope of the preparation of the coming of the Christ child once more into our hearts and lives.  This is the hope that we might be challenged to face our preconceived notions of what we are doing and preparing ourselves for God breaking into our lives anew with new opportunities to serve our God into this world.   

We are also confronted by the hope that God’s action in the world is not yet fulfilled and that we, as God’s faithful people, are to look to the one who will “come again” to fulfil the reconciliation of the whole of creation.  This needs to be part of our hope journey and the final message of hope, which is celebration. 

The advent story culminates on Christmas day with all of heaven and earth celebrating the hope that the birth of Christ brings to our world.  We are called to celebrate the impossible action of our God to enter our world as a helpless child and come and live among us.  This is the culmination of the hope that the prophets of old spoke about, and all we can do is offer God our heartfelt praise and thanksgiving. 

I pray as you open those presents under the tree, you will see them as something so much more than well-intentioned gifts given by loved ones, that you will see them as expressions of God’s true hope for the world –  a hope that carries on far beyond the preparation, the planning and the celebration, the hope of true reconciliation that only God can bring about through the coming of Christ to this world.

May you and your family experience the hope, joy, peace and love that flows through our God into our world this Christmas and may you live out these characteristics in the years to come.

God Bless


Rev Andrew Gunton is the Moderator, the spiritual head and the main spokesperson for the Uniting Church in Queensland.

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