Friends, I greet you with the grace and peace poured into our lives by God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ. And what a blessing indeed is the One whose coming we await.
Advent simply means ‘coming’. And friends, God is coming! Our LORD Jesus is coming; Christmas is coming! Over the next four weeks in Ad-vent, Old Testament prophets, and some reflections from excerpts of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s prison dairies, helps us to look forward the fulfilment of God’s purposes for His chosen people. A time when the greatest, most profound, tenderest thing in the world will be fulfilled.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was the German theologian and pastor, who was imprisoned and later killed by the Nazis. From prison, he writes, “celebrating Advent means being able to wait. Waiting is an art that our impatient world or age has forgotten.” He writes further that “whoever does not know the austere blessedness of waiting, will never experience the full blessing of fulfilment. Those who do not know how it feels to wait patiently, to look forward with anticipation until the truth is revealed, can-not even dream of the splendour of the moment in which clarity is illustrated for them. For the greatest, most profound, tenderest thing in the world, we must wait, and it happens according to the divine laws of sprouting, growing and becoming! But not everyone can wait”, says Bon-hoeffer. “The people who cannot wait are those who carry restlessness around with them and look to the greatness of this world. Thus”, he says, “Advent can be celebrated only by those who know that they are poor and incomplete, and who sense something of the greatness that is to come; the Holy One Himself. God in the child in the manger!”
He adds, “we can, and should also celebrate Christmas despite the ruins around us”, to his family.
For us, and for millions of Christians, the birth of Christ brings a new way, not just of understanding life but of living it. And so, in midst of all the ruins of our unjust world, let us look forward to rejoicing in coming of our LORD Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, and the One who reveals the face of God to us, and who is the Word of God for us!
Finally, a note of thanks your forbearance in my first few months or quarter. I am very much aware that change is not an easy process at the best of times, and would encourage us all to continue pray for guidance, both as you adjust to a new minister and also in our discernment for a vision for our Church.
To this end, and on behalf of Matthew, I’d like to wish you patience in your waiting this Advent, a very Happy Christmas and peaceful New Year.
Advent, Christmas and New Year blessings
Revd Abe Konadu-Yiadom