As we enter the season of Advent we are invited to await and prepare for the coming of the Christ child. In the name of the merciful and compassionate God, Christ who came as a helpless, vulnerable baby announces a new relationship with us—one that calls us to vulnerability and humility and seeks to bridge the divide, close the gap, “repair the breach.” As one who is called Emmanuel, God with us, we receive him as the good news of salvation, grace and justice in and for the world.

The gentle heart of Christ is open wide to embrace all who desire spiritual renewal in their lives and a transformation of the standards of this world. It is this very heart that approaches us in the challenge to loving service, communion and mission. And it compels us to foster more hope, peace, joy and love for the sake of God’s kingdom.

As this pronouncement approaches us in Advent, let us stand with openness of heart and vulnerability of spirit to embrace the healing message of Christmas. Through the powerlessness of the Christ child, the true power of God—and of God’s love—was revealed.

May Advent call us to this love.

“In a world so torn apart by rivalry, anger and hatred, we have the privileged vocation to be living signs of a love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds.”
—Henri Nouwen


Eternal and merciful God,

May the mystery of your love be made clear in Jesus this Advent.

Whatever divisions or wounds or causes of anger we harbour in our hearts, grant us the freedom and courage to transform them by your power.

May we open our hearts not only to welcome the Christ child into our midst but also embrace his reconciling mission to the glory of God.

Through Christ and in Christ we pray.


—The Rev. Daniel W. Cho, Moderator of the 2018 General Assembly