November 29, 2021
by Director of Mission, Mr Geoff Brodie
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.’ (Jn 3:16)
Once again, the Season of Advent begins just as our school years draws to a close. Advent is the time of preparation for the great joy of Christmas, marked for many by the ritual of giving and receiving gifts. This is perfectly consistent with our Christian faith, as our ritual of gift giving should be understood as a symbolic participation in the most splendid gift of all: the child Jesus laying in a manger. This newborn child is the gift that never runs out of batteries, never breaks on the first day, is never unfashionable, and indeed remains relevant to us through childhood to all the challenges of life. Indeed, friendship with Jesus is the gift of dwelling eternally in God’s love. If this gift first fitted into an animal’s feed trough, then we can be sure it has no trouble fitting perfectly under our own Christmas tree. Our own gift-giving prepares us to say ‘yes’ to the perfect gift, for our families are our first school of love.
Let this coincidence of beginnings and endings lead us to contemplate the gifts of this year as part of our Advent preparations. The families of our 2021 Year 12 students gathered last Sunday and started with this prayer:
We gather tonight to give thanks for all the gifts we have enjoyed this year, and all our combined years at SPC.
We thank you for the gifts of nature – for the sun that rises each morning, for the Ballarat winter that challenges our endurance and determination, for the plants and water that offer beauty at every glance.
We thank you for healthy minds and bodies – for the courage to be disciplined in our endeavours.
We thank you for all people who challenged us discover what we are capable of.
We thank you for the heritage of SPC – the people and stories that inspire and humble us.
We thank you for the great friendships forged in all those long hours together.
We ask you to bless all those who offered their gifts to the SPC community.
We praise and thank you for our families and friends.
Help us Lord to remember that it is our responsibility to use the divine gifts you have given us. Teach us what it means to be part of a community. Teach us, in the depths of our hearts, what a successful life really looks like
Finally, we thank you for our food, music, and fellowship tonight – especially those who have prepared the joys of our celebration.
We make our prayer in the unity of the Holy Spirit, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
May your year conclude with your family, friends, and faith close by. May this Christmas be a time of peace, joy, and love. Finally, may 2022 find you filled with the hope that flows eternally from Jesus’ manger and his cross. God bless us all.