Pete Graham is Habitat Ireland's Church & Community Engagement Officer. Read his reflection below:
With only a few days left of the Advent Season where we look forward in hope and anticipation to the message of Christmas; this verse from Hebrews 10v23 stood out for me these past few weeks– “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful”
On Christmas morning I love to be up early (just before our two young toddlers wake) and I love looking standing outside at the back of our house and looking at the surrounding houses and hearing the still silence; no traffic as yet; the odd flicker of light from a window; a morning full of anticipation as excited children wake to see what Santa has brought; people get excited about what the day will bring. It reminds me of the story of Simeon as found in Luke’s Gospel – Simeon was an older man and described as “devout and righteous; waiting for the consolation of Israel.” Simeon embodies the hope we read of in this verse; despite his advancing years he held unswervingly to the hope promised in the Messiah; the one who would reconcile God’s people to God.
As such Simeon gets to hold the King of Kings in his arms as He is presented in the temple at only a few weeks old and proclaims - “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss[a] your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
As we look to 2023 – let us have the faith of Simeon; unswerving despite the challenges we face and look forward to what God has promised; as Habitat as we seek to live out God’s love to others through providing strength, stability and self-reliance through safe shelter. At Habitat we have a message of hope; which we share through our actions and words – let’s not be discouraged yet trusting in God to guide; provide and empower in the year ahead as He has promised – to do good to those that love Him; those that he has called according to His purpose.
May you have a joyful Christmas and a peaceful New Year.
“May the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the perseverance of the wise men, the obedience of Joseph and Mary, and the peace of the Christ-child be yours this Christmas and the blessing of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you. Amen”