A Christmas Message from Rev'd Rich ...
Sociologists suggest that—even though we are more ‘connected’ by social media and other forms of technology than at any other time in history—we feel more disconnected from others than ever before. We have a huge ‘Friends’ list, but few people we really trust or share with. We have worries about finances, safety, employment and relationships, but there isn’t always someone to share these concerns with.
We all have battles, challenges and mountains to climb; we all need to know where we will get the wisdom or strength to deal with these realities. Imagine what life would be like if we truly believed that we had to do all of this on our own; that we could only depend on the strength we could muster inside ourselves. It would be a lonely and draining reality, yet we are in danger of it becoming the norm.
The bible regularly uses the word ‘slave’. The two leading dictionary definitions of slave are:
1. Someone who is legally owned by another person and is forced to work for that person without pay.
2. A person who is strongly influenced and controlled by something.
One bible verse in the book of Romans tells us that we do not need to be slaves to fear. In the book of Galatians, chapter 4, verse 4, Paul says,”But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.
A quote I recently saw had the words “David didn’t need to know Goliaths strength, because he already knew God’s”.
Christmas is a time for us to remember, or know for the first time, that we are God’s loved children. Jesus comes to us as a baby who needs the love and care of his parents to survive. God gives us a model of both vulnerability and strength in the birth of Jesus. The vulnerability of a dependant newborn and the strength that comes from the love and care he receives from others. So let’s ask ourselves if we are ‘slaves’ to anything or subject to any thinking or behaviours that are detrimental to ourselves or others. Let’s look into our hearts and see if we feel free to be ourselves - because Jesus came to set us free from the things that destroy our hearts and souls.
Here is the light and hope: we are made to know God, we are made to love and be loved, and we are made to be there for others and to allow others to meet our needs as well. We are designed to thrive, not simply by our own strength, but by the strength, we receive from sharing our lives and our journeys with others. To know that we are not alone. To know that we are loved and valued. To know that the creator of the Universe calls us their ‘children’ and ‘dearly beloved’.
Christmas is the time to know that God loves us; not to live in fear but to know that whatever comes our way, God is with us, Gods Spirit is in us and Jesus has shown us how to live.
I pray you encounter Jesus’ love this Christmas.
God bless you and keep you.
Rev’d Rich Lanham
As we take a break for the Christmas holiday period at the end of another school year, I thank all students, families and staff for another wonderful year, the culmination of which will be our Celebration Night tonight, incorporating the 47th Annual Prizegiving. It is on this occasion that we announce the House Shield results for 2017 and also our School Captains, Vice Captains and Prefects for 2018. These will be published early in the new school year for those families not in attendance.
I wish everyone a restful and safe holiday break. I encourage you all to embrace the spirit of Christmas and holidays, to enjoy the company of friends and family and to make the most of all that summer holidays bring.
Christmas Day lunch
A group of volunteers from our School community prepare a lunch on Christmas Day in the Boarding House for anyone who may wish to come together and share Christmas. We have a very generous School and wider Gippsland community who have donated all the goods for the lunch and we are very grateful for this. I would encourage anyone in the School community who may know of people, or organisations who connect with people, looking for a place to spend Christmas, to pass on the details of our Christmas lunch. Everyone is welcome. There is no cost, but people can donate to the Act for Peace Christmas Bowl Appeal if they wish. The two-course lunch is served at the Boarding House 57-59 Raglan Street Sale at 12.15pm on Christmas Day. Everyone is welcome for a great meal and company at Christmas.