This year we will again be delighted to share in our parish the beautiful Advent booklet Prepare: An Advent Reflection (downloadable for free here) which is produced by Anglican Overseas Aid– find out more about its work here.
The focus on the traditional Advent themes of hope, love, joy and peace is reflected in the work of bodies such as Anglican Overseas Aid in Christian work with our sisters and brothers and partners overseas. Our shared aspiration is that poor communities experience these themes of Advent in their daily lives. The reflections, drawn considerably from Anglican partners overseas, also help us however to understand the Good News of Jesus Christ more fully. The following reflection, from Melanesia, is just one example to help us grow, rejoice and share more deeply in God’s love for us all…
“The greatest gift that I can give is to love others unconditionally”
(Tagolyn Kabekabe, Anglican Alliance, Solomon Islands)
Love is the noblest of virtues. During Advent we reflect on God’s love in action. The Christian understanding is that God gives God’s very own self to us unconditionally and at great cost. At Christmas, the saviour Jesus comes as a vulnerable child, as God’s gift of love to us. The lowly shepherds are witnesses to the humble beginnings which shake the world. God is motivated by a restless concern to renew his creation, including us.
In Solomon Islands, camp fires have a special significance during Advent. The fire is always a communal event offering warmth to all who gather around. “Advent fire is our way of sitting, remembering and praying with those who are homeless, hungry, wounded and have lost their hope. They become the fire in our midst.” (The Revd Philemon Akao, Anglican Province of Melanesia)
Jo Inkpin is an Anglican priest serving as Minister of Pitt St Uniting Church in Sydney, a trans woman, theologian & justice activist. These are some of my reflections on life, spirit, and the search for peace, justice & sustainable creation.