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Letter from the Superintendent for the
December/January/February preaching plan

Greetings and compliments of the season!

 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.  The angel told her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God”. Luke 1.29-30

That assurance needs to be given to someone this Christmas. They are perplexed and confused. Who wouldn’t? The bills keep coming … they are higher than any mountain she had ever imagined. Every day, she plays Russian roulette with hunger and energy. In her internal monologue, she wonders what a swifter death would be … the cold or the starvation. Up in the sky, she notices the vultures circling with their languid patience. They are still tiny black dots against the blue sky, but at the right time, she was told, they will descend like giant aliens, their featherless necks stretching out their hooked beaks to mercilessly tear shriveled flesh from crumbling bone.

 

The angel told her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God”.

That assurance needs to be given to someone this Christmas. They are frightened and panicking. Who wouldn’t? The festival was heating up. Laughter rang across the valley. So many young people together enjoying their lives. It was to behold paradise here on earth. Then, the shooting began. The peals of laughter turned into screams of panic. The place of pleasure and life soon became a death hole … there was nowhere to hide. 1500 dead in a fell swoop. 200 taken hostage. Deadly missiles streaked into domestic homes and military barracks alike, threatening life and killing indiscriminately and cruelly. 

 

The angel told her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God”.

That assurance needs to be given to someone this Christmas. They are confused and desperate. Who wouldn’t? The bombing is relentless, 24/7, the carnage unimaginable. Hospitals, schools, homes, and refugee centres take a hit from the sky and land. No single building is standing, and yet the bombing does not stop. Children, even those born prematurely, are not spared; over 10,000 dead and counting. There is nowhere safe.

 

That assurance needs to be given to someone this Christmas. They are much perplexed. Who wouldn’t?  While all media claim this is the season of good cheer, the reality on the ground often differs. Hence, proclaiming hope in a value-less world is even more urgent. Christmas is more than food and wine razzmatazz. At its core is the promise of peace, love and justice. The hope that spurs Mary to respond to the angel with an unflinching yes to an outlandish request. The same hope gave her deep peace as King Herod was massacring babes in the manic desire to kill Mary’s baby Jesus. We are called to proclaim this hope that inspires Mary to sing of the healing and restoration of the world.

 

This hope comes to us as an inheritance, as a gift, as a blessing, as an invitation, wrapped inextricably into the folds of our hearts, prompting us to love the unlovable, to be peaceable in the face of hostility and to be steadfast when all seems lost. Hope makes God’s sacred presence possible when we only have mustard seeds to hang on to when life is most brutal. Hope will evoke melodies where there is discord and disharmony, even when it seems almost impossible to sing, when it is most absurd, to dream of—and work for—a world restored and healed. We must strive to be more hopeful when it seems most hopeless.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

God’s blessings are with you now.

With love
Vincent Jambawo
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