Welcome to the final edition of Together for 2017!
It seems before we know it Christmas will be here – and with it all the activity, and opportunity for bearing witness to Jesus, that this season brings.
My reflection on the Christmas narrative in the gospels this year has so far led me back again to the extraordinary faith of a couple of first time parents-to-be. Mary’s life took an unexpected turn that at best brought misunderstanding and at worst was life-threatening. The greatest privilege (to bear God into the world) brought with it the greatest risk. And yet young Mary’s response to God’s plan revealed to her through the angel Gabriel was one of faith: “I am the Lord’s servant…May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38).
Joseph, too, was faced with a choice about whether or not to trust God. He was called to take as his wife a fiancé pregnant with a child he knew was not his own. Yet Joseph, in faith, obeyed the Lord (Matt 1:24). The choices by both Mary and Joseph to trust God opened the door to God using them in extraordinary ways for his Kingdom’s purposes.
And so it is that alongside the wonderful reminder that Christmas is about God’s love for us is this challenge to faithfully align ourselves to God’s call on our lives. Will we, like Mary and Joseph, trust Him, in the midst of circumstances we may not fully understand? Will we be available to him, whatever that call looks like for us as individuals and as churches?
This time of year brings with it unique opportunities for mission in our local communities, as well as a season of reflection as we look to the year ahead. How will be approach it? Will we open our lives to follow God’s Kingdom purposes for us, even as these stretch us? Will we align ourselves with his will? Let’s be available to step in faith into the new and the unknown, knowing that God who calls us is also with us – “Immanuel”!