I really appreciated Rev Lynda Johnson’s message in the Celebration of Achievement, broadcasted last Friday night on YouTube:
“You (we) have been able to achieve so more this year than you (we) might have if we’d had a normal year: boundaries have been opened, resilience, patience, and humility have grown… Crisis and surprise often go together in ways we would never had imagined. 2020 has been a year of crisis and surprise. It makes me think of Jesus and His death, a crisis, and His resurrection, a surprise.”
As 2020 draws to a close, I am incredibly proud to be part of this community. While an immensely challenging year for us all, the year has highlighted how amazing the people in this community are. It is only under pressure that we grow. We have certainly been placed under pressure over the course of this year, but in so many ways we have grown.
And as the year draws to a close, our minds now turn to that other important event in our calendar: Christmas. It is the time of the year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus: God becoming human, what a surprise!
In all His humanity, Jesus experienced life just like us: The joy of weddings, friendships and hospitality; sickness (with no medical help to speak of); the disappointment of rejection and the hurt of persecution; and, the pain and grief for the loss of friends.
The Jewish people had been waiting for centuries for fulfilment of God’s promise that he would send a Saviour. But their hope was built on something other than God’s plan. They hoped for a leader to save them from the oppression of the Roman empire. Many believed that Jesus was that man. Imagine the anxiety and fear when he was arrested and sentenced to death on a cross, the most horrific form of execution.
But, as Rev Lynda reminded us, crisis and surprise often go together in ways we had never imagined. God, become man, suffered death on a cross, rose to life, conquering death for all eternity. What unimaginable hope we have because of the gift we remember each Christmas! Why not celebrate that gift at one of the local churches?
As the year concludes, can I publicly thank and acknowledge Rev Lynda Johnson. She concludes two years as Acting Chair of the St Paul’s School Council, in addition to 10 years’ service on the Council. Her faithfulness, wisdom and generosity has had a tremendous impact on our community. Thank you, Lynda.
Dr Paul Browning