It is a pleasure to bring greetings to all who are members of Christian KiwiSaver Scheme, the Anglican Church’s clergy Pension Fund, members of the Retire Fund, and all our friends and supporters.
In this great festival of Christmas, Christian people all over the world will gather to celebrate God choosing to come in humility, as a vulnerable and dependent child, to dwell with us, so that we and all creation may be filled with God. God chooses not to remain safely aloof but to come into this world to experience human life in its fullness and in its harshness. Jesus will grow up to face trial and temptation, betrayal, fear, trauma, and death. He speaks to us as one who knows what we are facing and what we are going through, for he has experienced our fears and trials.
Christmas is a festival of hope that brings us close to heaven. As we come to adore the Christ child, we stand in the presence of heaven coming to earth, bringing the light and love of God into our midst. Crib scenes show the holy family living in humility; but animals also surround them to remind us that all creation joins in adoring the newborn Christ.
And yet that creation, which Christ comes to fill with God, is facing an unprecedented climate crisis brought about by human greed and exploitation. This crisis is robbing people worldwide of water, interrupting food supplies, and damaging communities. This Christmas, may we come to Christ in an attitude of repentance to renew our commitment to stand with those who are losing their homes and livelihoods and who fear for their future. May we commit ourselves afresh to caring for creation in every decision we make with our resources.
We give thanks, too, that God’s choice to take on human flesh and blood is as real now as it was in Bethlehem on that first Christmas Day. In the birth of Christ, we celebrate God’s love coming to us in human, personal form. We pray that Christ will be born in our hearts again; Christ living, dying, speaking and acting in our own bodies; Christ in the ones full of pressure and stress; Christ in the family struggling to find a home; Christ in the grieving person mourning the loss of a loved one; Christ in those living in war zones crying out for peace and justice. God chooses to dwell with us. He is Love come down from heaven. His agenda is always for our good, and he will be with us as we continue the next stage of our life’s journey.
I would like to thank the Board and the Investment Committee of Anglican Financial Care, our Chief Executive, Margaret Bearsley, and her team for their fantastic work supporting all of us this year. May our infant saviour give us all the joy of the Bethlehem shepherds, the awe of the sages and the humility of the holy family.
The Very Rev’d Lawrence Kimberley
Chair of Anglican Financial Care
Dean of Christchurch.