Dear Federation Sisters,
I write to greet you in the name of Jesus whose birth we celebrate soon. He who was divine has come into our world as human in order to reveal the heart of God. He who was born in Palestine is our brother and unites us into the global family of God. He who was prepared to be vulnerable gives us strength to live for him. He who knows us completely, forgives us our failings and restores us to himself. He who loves us delights in our commitment to serve him.
During Advent, we are encouraged to think about John the Baptist and the part he played in the life of Jesus. I particularly love the story in Luke 1 when even before Jesus and his cousin were born, the baby John ‘leaped in his mother’s womb’ as Elizabeth greeted her cousin Mary. It was as if he was already announcing the Messiah was on his way.
Later, when Jesus came to him in the wilderness, to be baptised in the river Jordan, John proclaimed ‘Behold the lamb of God!’ He pointed to Jesus to help other people recognise him. Our calling is similar. For we too are ‘Chosen People: Called to Proclaim’ the wonderful acts of God. We too are commissioned to help other people recognise the presence of Jesus in our midst.
I rejoice that many of you are using social media to share your faith. We do need to use Facebook and Twitter with care, but I commend to you the World Federation pages https://www.facebook.com/WFMUCW/ and also the Website www.wfmucw.org and Twitter @WFMUCW. They are a 21st century way of proclaiming our faith and pointing others to the results of our faith-based activities. Please visit these and click LIKE and send me your ‘GOOD NEWS’ to be shared more widely.
I am quite sure that when the crowds came to John to be baptised in the river Jordan, they didn’t expect to find Jesus the Christ amongst them. I suspect that sometimes we turn up at church on a Sunday, little expecting to find that Jesus is there too. We can, however, be alert to recognise him in the stranger who slips in during the first hymn and sits quietly in the back row, or in the fidgeting child, clambering on the seat in front of us. We may notice Jesus in the face of the one who is caring for a friend in difficulties, or praying with someone in distress. And what about the rest of the week? In the rush and tumble, in the messiness, in the chaos and in the pain: Jesus is with us then too, wherever we may be. So let’s notice where Jesus is present and share that good news as far as we can.
For surely this is part of the point of Christmas: that God in Jesus came and lived with us, God with us, Emmanuel.
Enjoy the rest of Advent, and have a blessed Christmas and a joyful and peaceful New Year.
World President, WFM&UCW