Advent is Here!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Today is the start of the Christian season of Advent, officially the Christian New Year!  Advent means “coming” and refers to the 4-week period before Christmas.  During Advent we prepare for the coming of Jesus the Christ into our world, first as the baby of Bethlehem - the veiled Messiah - and then his second coming as the clearly visible Lord of heaven and earth.

The coming of Jesus is the clearest expression of the mission of God.  His coming was God’s rescue plan to restore his kingdom, his rule and leadership on earth, which Adam and Eve rejected by their distrust and disobedience.  Every person, ever since, has continued to do the same.

Through first calling the people of Israel to live out his rule, God’s rescue plan was fulfilled in the coming of God incarnate – Jesus of Nazareth - God who became one of us!  God shared our human life in his only son Jesus who embodied God and expressed God’s mission.  This is the ultimate evidence of how much God loves us and wants to live in relationship with us.

And God calls us to continue his mission - to embody and express his leadership in our world, to show his love to those who don’t yet know him, to work for peace, justice and right living, to care for God’s creation, and to share the good news of Jesus’ rescue plan.

One way to do this is through our Christmas Appeal.

In the midst of our Christmas giving and receiving, our elders invite you to give a Christmas gift to aid God’s mission.  This year our elders decided to support The Ray of Hope Boys’ Home in Burma and the Santo Bush Mission in Vanuatu.  See the enclosed Christmas Appeal Flyer.

The Ray of Hope (3T) Boys’ Home has been our mission partner through Kiwis Paul & Carlie Somerville since the 1990s.  This mission began after a family holiday in Asia when they were troubled by what they saw; so they moved to Thailand for 13 years!  They have established about 15 homes throughout Asia which offer children from poor families a secure Christian family home, education, leadership development and Christian teaching.  Paul spoke at our service back in August.

Pastor Tony Won spoke to us in August about the Bush Mission to the Kustom Villages of the Santo Rainforest.  His family has been at St Albans this year and his boys Justin and Christopher will remain here when their parents return to Vanuatu in January.

We encourage you to give a significant cash gift – something like you spend on a gift for one you love.  Please talk about it as a family.  This could be the most significant Christmas gift that you give this year.  Please return your gift to St Albans in the enclosed envelope.

Last year we gave a record $6,800 to the Christmas Appeal - can we better that this Christmas?  Please reflect on how thankful you are that Jesus came into our world and into your life – and how much you want others to know the love and hope that Jesus brings.