As we were preparing this edition, the Adelaide foothills where I live and other parts of South Australia were battered by what I will call (in deference to TV’s The Vicar of Dibley) The Great Storm of 2022.

More than 400,000 lightning strikes had hit South Australia overnight and there were warnings of gale-force winds and pounding rain. In the afternoon, a savage front raged across Adelaide, with our street in the firing line. Winds in excess of 100 kilometres per hour tore branches off large trees and hurled them like javelins into yards, verandahs and roofs. When I could see the trees through horizontally-driving rain, they were bent by lashing winds and water before shedding limbs in resignation. It looked like a typhoon.

A large tree in the gorge opposite our house snapped in half and, unsurprisingly, powerlines and other service infrastructure were damaged. Electricity was cut, internet connection gone, lights out, no hot water. Without a word of a pun, I felt powerless.

With the storm passed, chainsaws roared into life in our street. Ladders, tarpaulins and spare tiles appeared as neighbours helped one another remove branches from roofs and cover the breaches. Neighbours helping one another, often forgetting their own needs to do so. I reflected on God’s gift of community, and on his greatest gift to us as we go through this Advent season – the Christchild. We know the incarnation text well … the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).

This neighbourhood scene reminded me about our calling as Christians – not to just know about God’s plan of salvation, not even just to share it with others, but also to be God’s hands and feet as we take Jesus’ love out with us to the streets, the cricket ground, bush track, school, shops, farm, office, café, theatre … or rooftop.

In this edition, we are privileged to share stories from our Lutheran family about stepping out of our homes and churches and taking God’s love for everyone with us as we go. I pray that you will be inspired by them, as I have been.

As this is the last edition for 2022, I would like to thank you, our readers, subscribers and group collectors for your loyalty. My gratitude goes, too, to our wonderful team – Linda Macqueen (executive editor), Elysia McEwen (graphic designer), columnists Helen Beringen and Bishop Paul Smith, proofreaders Lyall Kupke and Kathy Gaff, Olivia Harman in subscriptions and Trevor Bailey and all at Openbook Howden.

The Lutheran will be different next year, as we trial a move to six editions to make our churchwide magazine more sustainable in the face of increasing production costs and diminishing church membership and subscriber numbers. We will reduce subscription costs along with this change. We ask for your understanding and look forward to your continued support.

Have a safe, joyful and blessed Christmas,


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