Advent is a time of longing and waiting, where Christians remember the ancient cry of oppressed people for salvation. Of patriarchs and prophets, sheep herders and a humble revolutionary virgin peasant girl, culminating at Christmas in the miracle and wonder of God who comes to us as a child.
As we long for and await the Christ child we name the darkness violence and longings of children in our own age for Hope, Peace, Love, Joy.
Every year, one billion children, half of the worlds population aged between 2-17 experience violence, neglect or abuse in many forms; physical, sexual and mental, including commercial sexual exploitation, trafficking, child labour and harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation/cutting and child marriage.
But it doesn’t need to be this way.
The God who comes as a vulnerable child, experiences suffers and transforms this violence.
The one who said…
“Let the little ones come to me. ”
That “The kingdom belongs to such as these”
Who warns those who would “hinder’ or “cause a little one to stumble’.
In a world of division we surely can agree on one thing. That violence against children is a violation of the life God desires for every child. That when children are hurt, we, are diminished. That the true measure of any community is how well it attends to its children. That the true measure of our faith is what we believe is possible for a child.
Many faith based organisations have joined in a campaign called It takes a world to end violence against children. It aims to catalyse a global movement of people committed to keeping children safe from harm. Its name reflects the fact no one person, group or organisation can solve this problem alone.
As Christians at Advent we believe that it takes more than a world.
It takes faith in a God who comes to join with us in the work.
We gather this Advent to express our faith a God who knows what it is to become a child.
Who is willing to identify with the victims;
offer forgiveness to perpetrators
and through his life, death and resurrection has the power to transform the devastating control of violence over us all.
May our worship and service this day be work together (personal and public), to end violence in the lives of children.
May it help us to confess the worst and rise to the best in ourselves as we help children reach their full potential, and promote a kingdom future of peace and dignity for the next generation.
– Marcus Curnow, 2017