Getting ready for Christmas
From Andy Fleming, Associate Chaplain
Last Sunday marked the start of Advent. The season of Advent in the Christian calendar is a time when we prepare for Christmas - the celebration of Christ’s birth. It is a time when Christians recognise the promise of Jesus Christ’s birth, and the anticipation that Christ will come again. Among the many ways that Christians prepare is through the symbolic lighting of a candle in each of the four Sunday services leading up the Christmas Day. The four candles lit traditionally represent hope, faith, joy and peace.
These four themes can be found in the Christmas story in the actions of Mary and Joseph, in the lead up to the birth of Jesus, and also afterwards. The faith and courage shown by them is extraordinary, in a time when Jewish custom would typically have had Mary stoned for falling pregnant to someone other than her betrothed, and then Joseph risked being ostracised from society, due to the compassion and kindness he showed to Mary, who he was supposed to divorce. However, by following the plans God had set out for them, they helped to provide the hope, joy and peace that Christians celebrate during Christmas.
Mary’s joy can be read in the Magnificat. A song of praise to God that Mary wrote during her pregnancy. It is powerful hymn that shares Mary’s joy in being chosen to be the mother of the son of God. Through the words lifted up the lowly and filling the hungry with good things, Mary is giving us insight into the future ministry of Jesus.
For his part, Joseph humbly ensures the safety of Mary, the mother, and her child, Jesus. He trusted God’s instructions, firstly in taking Mary as his wife, and then ensuring Jesus’ safety when threatened by King Herod’s jealous quest to eliminate the baby he saw as a possible threat to his kingdom.
As we come to the end of a most challenging year, the words and actions of Mary and Joseph in the Christmas story can provide us with an example of humility, hope and peace, and point to the need for us to look for opportunities to help others in need.
A prayer for the end of the school year.
God of wisdom,
We thank you for all the gifts you have given us throughout this school year.
We thank you, that throughout the challenges and difficulties of 2020, we have been safe.
As we come to the end of this school year, we are grateful for the good things you have done in us, and we praise you for all who have shared in the work of this school.
We ask you to bless them in your love and give them refreshment and peace.
May each of you have a restful and hope-filled Christmas,
Thanks to everyone who supported the Junior Giving Tree appeal, which has now ended. There is still time to donate to the Anglicare Christmas Pantry appeal.
Anglicare Christmas Pantry Appeal
After the year many in our wider community have experienced, it is little wonder that there is a greater than normal demand on Anglicare. Radford Secondary school has been contacted by Anglicare to assist with stocking their shelves in time for Christmas. Anglicare volunteers have been unable to do their normal collections at supermarkets this year leaving the cupboards particularly bare. Everyday pantry items are needed, as well as Christmas foods to be put in hampers. Donations of food and other items, including unwrapped gifts for people of all ages, can be left at the Giving Tree in the Secondary School Library.
Please see below for details of what can be donated.