In the church, December is about endings and beginnings, which seem to flow in streams over one another, the first Sunday of Advent which is in November, has text about about Jesus coming again to be with us, yet it is also about the prophets’ longing over the course of centuries, to see the Messiah, the physical year draws to a close, while the church year has already began again. Such a strange time of the year!
Perhaps it is a reminder that endings are also beginnings. As we draw close to Christmas or it is Christmas morning – as we hear the two-thousand year old message of the angels declare “peace on earth among all people” we still long for its' fulfilment.
We enter into the ancient story, we remember our own Christmasses, as children, as young people, young couples, older people, the many Christmas celebrations throughout the years, even to the present. Along with them we add our hope for a “Merry Christmas” that the angels message from so long ago might be true in our time.
On Christmas eve the “hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight” we sing. We gather, aware of how the promises crowd in with us around the manger. We celebrate the birth-not only of an infant-two thousand years ago-but of something present - faith, hope, love promises given, waited for and kept-that the spirit that is always present, that draws us, again and again to the side of the manger. We eat and drink together. "This is my body ,this is my blood.” The yearning takes on human flesh, hope is incarnated. It does not end there. Our desire is not only for now, for this Christmas, but for the future as well-that all our people may finally know peace, that brotherhood and sisterhood may be restored, that the “lion and the lamb might lie together again” that all our children may always have bright and happy Christmasses. That the message of peace may ring loud and clear in our togetherness in the dorp, Masakhane, Blompark and further as we strive and work with one accord to bring Jesus Christ to all our people. Our hope is rejoined to that of the prophets of long ago, this hope speaks for all of us-we have come a full circle. Hope, presence, fulfillment, endings and beginnings. On behalf of all our ministers and congregations, I wish you all a blessed and Christ centered Christmas-and a New Year of bountiful, wonderful blessings that, of course will only come with total obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ. To those who have lost loved ones during this year, may the lord that says” come to me and I will you rest” be especially very close to you.