Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Advent / Christmas 30 Day Retreat: Day 30

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Susanne Timpani

13 When they [the three kings] had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.“Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 
15 where he stayed until the death of Herod.' (Matthew 2:13-15)

Fleeing from bullets 
My African friend has told me stories of his flight out of his home country. Bullets seared banana leaves as his family stumbled through fields. A child at the time, some memories are sharper than others. While he remembered neighbours and friends screaming, he also remembered others singing. Through their songs they cried out to God for His help. 

Nursing in refugee health afforded me the opportunity to hear many tragic tales. Yet, despite their recount of horrific experiences I am astounded by people's frequent conclusion, ‘but I give thanks to God.’ Even with the strength of my faith I still find it hard to believe that you could experience such atrocities and come out praising God. 

If born in Australia it's unlikely that we have ever been forced to escape persecution and become refugees. Even so, we may have experienced isolation from our family, friends, work colleagues and, unfortunately, even our church communities. 

Today we read about the Holy Family being uprooted and fleeing from their homeland. This taints the joy and wonder that has so far surrounded the birth of Jesus. From this moment on, Jesus’ life will always be a dichotomy of suffering and healing. Jesus recognises that we all suffer at some level. In His humanity, Jesus suffers as we do. In His divinity, Jesus suffers for our redemption.His humanity, He suffers like us. In His divinity, His suffering is a redemptive act for us. Christmas and Easter will always go hand in hand.

As this 30 Day Online Retreat draws to a close, I would like to thank you for joining me on the journey. Setting aside 10 Minutes each day to listen and reflect on God's Word yields a promise,

11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

Please join me tomorrow as I share my thoughts about the 10 Minute Daily Retreat for 2017.