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The God who stops

I don’t know how you feel about 2021 but for me it has certainly been …. let’s say “challenging.” That naive optimism I had at Christmas last year as restrictions came off and vaccinations neared and I said to myself, “2021 will be better now that we are done with COVID”, is long gone. Of course, that was only me, right? The rest of you were not so naive?

So, it is a much wiser me that approaches this coming Christmas and the New Year that lies beyond. Yet it is Christmas, and I cannot help but think about it and find my heart lifting with hope.

Why? Well, I am glad you asked.

There is a very well-known story that Jesus told, about a man who was beaten, robbed, and left naked on the side of the road. Important people came by and ignored his plight and then a nobody from another country (Samaria) comes along and stops, treats the victim’s wounds, carries him to shelter and provides for his ongoing care. This story is where we get the term “Good Samaritan” from. Jesus finishes this story by encouraging the person he told it to, to “go and do likewise.” In many ways, the existence of Baptist Care SA and our work caring for vulnerable and at-risk people is an expression of this story.

For me, Christmas is another expression of that Good Samaritan story. After all, the reason we are to follow the Samaritan’s example is that the Samaritan is mirroring the character and behaviour of God. In the birth of Jesus, we see our God again living out that narrative. Stopping, caring, and providing for our wellbeing. Not from a distance, cold and aloof, but intimately as one of us.

As hard as this second year of COVID has been, not to mention the other joys that visited us, like server issues, every time I felt tired, stressed, or broken, I also felt God stop and care for me. For me, this is a source of hope for the coming year, no matter what it brings, and thinking about Christmas reminds me that my God stops.

So, enjoy Christmas and amidst connecting with family and opening presents, find some time to connect with that hope for yourself.

Ian Warner
Manager Chaplaincy Services

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