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An Advent filled with care and affection

Will Postma and his wife, Rebecca, visit PWRDF partner KORLCC.

November 28, 2022

By Will Postma

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Bind us together in care and affection,
for each other and the land.
That all your creatures might flourish in our places

These words are from one of the hopeful prayers in “The Birth of Hope,” PWRDF’s Advent Meditations on Women and Climate Change, written by Dr. Sylvia Keesmaat. They are so inspiring to me – bind us together, care, affection, each other, flourish in our places.

God’s Word is replete with stories of care and affection, too.

  • Ruth and Naomi, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, caring for each other
  • Pharoah’s daughter risking her own life to save the baby Moses
  • The Good Samaritan, who binds up the wounds of the injured traveller
  • The people who helped Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus as refugees in Egypt
  • Dorcas, always doing good and helping the poor, as is said in Acts 9, a woman of faith who offered care and affection to those around her.

An Anglican church near my home – St. Alban the Martyr in Acton, Ontario – is this year celebrating 150 years of service to God and the community. It is bound together by care and affection, love and prayers. It has been flourishing for the last century and a half with weekly worship, Christmas Candlelight services, fundraisers and care for the hungry in their community. An “All God’s Creatures” garden, where volunteers, young and old have worked for two summers, is creating a welcoming space to the birds, bees, butterflies and beneficial insects, giving back to God’s earth. 

One of my most memorable moments with PWRDF this year was another story of care and affection. It was on September 30, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. I was in Kahnawake, Quebec, with my wife Rebecca. We joined a community gathering in the morning, listening to songs, prayers, painful memories of survivors of residential schools from women who found strength and joy in being together. We visited the Kahnawake Culture Centre, a PWRDF partner. Indigenous women across Canada had made 215 pairs of moccasins, with care and affection, to honour the lives of children who were buried in unmarked graves, next to a former Residential School. Rebecca and I learned a lot that day. We were so welcomed into that space.  

Advent marks a time of waiting, for Jesus’ birth and for Jesus to come again. For St. Alban’s and faith communities across Canada, Advent is also a time when care and affection for Christ and the community is lived out. I think of the community care and affection – in Kahnawake and at St. Alban’s – when I reflect on the good news of great joy proclaimed by the angels, announcing the birth of Jesus, announcing hope for our hurting world.

PWRDF’s Advent Reflections this year is called the Birth of Hope. The prayer for the first Sunday of Advent reads like this…

Creator God,
Whose patience is earth deep and ocean wide,
you do not wait to bring healing and hope
in the midst of loss.
Give us a vision to not only see your healing work,
but also make it our own.
For the sake of your creation.

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