And the Word became flesh and lived among us…

 

The Message translation of the Bible describes the coming of God into the world as ‘God moving into the neighbourhood’. This is God coming into his own creation, among his own people, bringing heaven to earth.

When we remember the Christmas story, we invariably draw from the Gospel accounts of Matthew and Luke, with their familiar stories of the annunciation to Mary, the angel appearing to the shepherds, and the wise men lavishing the baby Jesus with gifts.

John’s Gospel, however, leaves out all this detail, instead opting to describe the enormity of what took place when God ‘moved in’ among us. We are told that God came among his own but they did not recognise him.

Through the birth of Jesus, the reign of God has come down from heaven. Heaven, where there is fullness of hope, love, joy and peace – the themes we often remember during Advent – has invaded the world in the person of Jesus.

Anglican Overseas Aid exists because God moved into the neighbourhood. We are not just a humanitarian organisation. We want to follow Jesus and make sure that those who are excluded are included.

To this end, our Rapid Response Emergency Fund exists to help us respond quickly, usually through Anglican Church partners, when humanitarian disasters strike poor and vulnerable communities around the world.

We have used this fund to respond to disasters caused by floods, cyclones, earthquakes, volcanoes, conflict and famine in many developing countries around the world. Following our rapid responses to the disasters in Indonesia, Mozambique and Syria during the year, our Fund needs replenishing, so that we are always ready to help.

Children access soap and clean water in Sulawesi, Indonesia after the earthquake and tsunami. Credit: Simon Chambers/ACT

Please remember those afflicted by humanitarian emergencies this Christmas, and help us to be the hands and feet of the God who moved into the neighbourhood so that those who are excluded can be included.

Women in Mozambique access soap and clean water

The first chapter of John’s Gospel talks about the Word becoming flesh – God becoming human. The baby born in the manger grew in stature to become the man who demonstrated through his life, death and resurrection that God cares for the forgotten ones.

People affected by disasters around the world are often the most forgotten of all, especially when their stories are no longer covered by the news cycle.

Construction kits were given to those who lost their homes in Sulawesi, Indonesia after the earthquake and tsunami.

Immediate needs like shelter, food, and fresh water take priority. Often things like schooling for children become the last priority. This has a lasting effect on the community. However, when we can provide the basics quickly, life can return to normal more quickly.

In recent years you have helped us provide support for people devastated by war in Syria, famine in east Africa, and volcanic activity in Vanuatu. Earlier this year you also helped us provide relief for people affected by cyclones in Mozambique.

It has been said that the offense of the Gospel is not in who it excludes, but in who it includes. The poor, the ‘sinners’, the outcast, are all welcomed and are considered worthy.

In the prelude to John’s Gospel, we are also told that Jesus is the light for all people and that the darkness in the world cannot overcome it. Then, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells the people that they are the light of the world.

Please join us and let your light shine before others so that they may see your good deeds and glorify God.

Together, we can be the light of the world, showing the extraordinary love of Jesus to those in the dark places of poverty, despair and hopelessness.

Thank you for your generosity this Christmas!

 


To donate to our 2019 Christmas Appeal, click on the ‘Please Donate’ button below (choose ’01. 2019 Christmas Appeal’ from the ‘Donation’ drop-down menu) or call us on 1800 249 880.

Alternatively, you can send a cheque/money order made payable to Anglican Overseas Aid to:

Anglican Overseas Aid
2019 Christmas Appeal
PO Box 389
Abbotsford, VIC 3067