3rd Sunday of Advent 2018 – Seeking true joy.

When I was a little child,

my focus at Christmas was largely about receiving gifts.

As I moved into my young adult years

I also appreciated being able to buy gifts

for my parents and siblings.

But it wasn’t until I became a parent

that I could truly appreciate the reality

that giving can be far more rewarding than receiving.

Seeing the looks of excitement, anticipation and joy

on the faces of my children was a gift that money couldn’t buy.

Not that Christmas is just about material gifts of course.

We know it to be predominantly about

the gift offered by God in becoming human as Jesus.

The origin and real power of Christmas come from the birth of a baby.

A baby born to a poor couple of ‘middle-eastern appearance’ with no real stature in their own society.

A baby who would become a refugee in another land not long after his birth, due to persecution in his own country.

It is a sobering thought that if Jesus had been born in 2018 and his family had sought to travel not to Egypt but to Australia, they would most likely be turned away.

That shows we have some way to go as a nation in being people living the Gospel values.

The baby who is the reason for this season continually calls us to embrace his ways of love, inclusion, tolerance, peace, justice and compassion.

To fully receive the true gift of Christmas in the way we lead our lives.

May we take time in the lead up to Christmas to pray that Jesus helps instil more deeply within us His values.

– Deacon Tony Hoban
Pastoral Director