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Enough for Advent

During the season of Advent, the Joint Public Issues Team are offering a series of four reflective readings and prayers. They are designed to be suitable for use in Sunday services as part of the lighting of advent candles, but could be used in other contexts too.

These resources are designed as part of the #ENOUGH campaign, to help churches be more aware of its key priorities and to help root our public campaigning with our Gospel faith.

Through the #ENOUGH initiative we are seeking to challenge policy makers not to lose sight of the underlying principle that the benefits system in our welfare state was designed and established to make sure that everyone in need has enough. We recognise the economic constraints in which policy makers have to operate, and affirm the principle that our system needs to be fair. But we are concerned that some of the more recent developments in benefits cuts and sanctions, deliberately leave people with less than enough, undermining the whole point of its existence.

During the season of Advent, we are inviting Christians and anyone who shares our concerns to send one more Christmas card to the Department of Work and Pensions with a simple message “please make sure that everyone has enough”.  The DWP address is: Caxton House, Tothill Street, London, SW1H 9NA.

We recognise that with any campaign comes personal responsibility, and if everyone is to have enough, then those who have more than enough need to be willing to share. Our Advent reflections are designed to help people engage with this challenge; we would also encourage churches to use this to promote an alternative narrative to challenge the pressure of advertising campaigns that seek to measure the quality of Christmas by how much we spend.

For people who are already financially hard-pressed; the idea that unless they spend significant amounts of money on food, presents and celebrations they are somehow not having a “proper Christmas”, can be a particularly damaging one.

As those who call for a welfare system that provides enough, we can model this reality by being content with enough ourselves, and declare the Good News that the true heart of the Christmas message is that God has provided more than enough for our eternal salvation.

We hope that you find these resources and ideas helpful.

For more information about the #ENOUGH initiative, please see the Joint Public Issues Team website.

 

Reflection for Christmas Day (25 December)

John 1:14 & 16: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth... Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.

At a moment in history, in a place and a time,
An infant’s cry in the still night air
Declared salvation’s dawn.
His mother lay back exhausted
While her trembling husband laid this fragile child
In an animal’s manger.
 
We light this flame because we believe
That in this moment, it was none other than God
Who took on the flesh of a human infant,
Reaching into the deepest realities of our existence
To become this world’s salvation.
 
Today we will unwrap our gifts
Share food and laughter
Embrace loved-ones and savour memories.
But these things alone can never be enough
To satisfy our deepest needs and longings.
 
Like this fragile, flickering flame
They are but precious symbols
Of a deeper and more lasting gift;
The gift of eternity itself
That no earthly circumstance or human hand can ever wrench from us.
 
We who have seen his glory,
Revealed in the scant chaos of this manger birth,
Offer ourselves afresh in Christ’s service,
Content to believe; content to receive,
And called to be those who make Good News known
Wherever the darkness of injustice and ignorance prevails
For nothing else is enough.
 
Living Christ, light of the world
On this day we are touched afresh by your glory
Awestruck not by the grandeur of your arrival
But the immensity of its significance.
Your light has come;
Our hopes and longings are fulfilled in you.
Stir our hearts afresh
To live our lives in the light of your coming
That your good news
Might be made known through us
AMEN

 

More Worship Resources:

1st Sunday in Advent 
2nd Sunday in Advent
3rd Sunday in Advent
4th Sunday in Advent
Reflection for Christmas Day