Promises, promises!

Norris Hall in the Cambridge Christmas Parade.

Norris Hall

The negotiations have finished, some give and take done, some appointments made; and now we have a three party government to lead us maybe for the three years.

Promises have been offered by each composite political party to make the arrangement work – for the betterment of New Zealand and its inhabitants. We are all in for an interesting 100 days ahead as the new coalition flexes its muscles and implements the first pressing part of its weighty agenda.

Will the promises be kept and honoured by all and sundry? That remains to be seen.

The stitching together of the three parties to make our new administration reminds one of a marriage or civil union or de facto relationship. In some marriage ceremonies or services, the two special individuals make a promise to each other in the presence of witnesses and invited supporters; “I, N, take you, N, to be my wife/husband, to have and hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.”

It is a long promise, so full of impact on each contracting party,

an offering not to be taken lightly or dismissively. For many, it is a life-long commitment. I am sure that many of us have benefitted from the stability of a home headed by mum and dad.

This past Sunday was observed by various main-line churches as being the first Sunday in Advent, the Church’s New Year since the liturgical cycle begins anew on that particular day of rest and worship. It begins a four week or so period of preparation for the coming of Christmas – celebrating the birth of Jesus.

Advent not only hastens Christians to reflect and become aware of that all-

important festival, but it also reminds believers of a promise made so many centuries before, that a great prophet would be raised up and that he would come.

And he did come in the initial persona of an infant child born in an inn’s

stable. That promise was never broken, and each Christmas we remember its honouring. That promise was fulfilled in the observance of Easter, some months later.

But Advent is also a time, which seems to be drowned out in the rush of other preparations and by work parties; that we make or renew promises to each other – our family members and friends – to care and watch out for each other and not to forget those close to us in the demands our day-to-day lives.

Jesus came into the world as The Promise, into a world that seemingly had no room for him.

In the busy-ness that lies ahead, what unbreakable promises shall we be making to Him in return? Because, after all, He is the reason behind the season. May the promise of Christmas be one of happiness, fulfilment and honouring for us all.


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