What is our mission? We all know deep down, don’t we? We are to love God, love our neighbours as ourselves – and, as our cover text says, with the help of the Holy Spirit we are to be God’s witnesses to the ends of the earth.

Being and bringing Jesus to people – sharing the gospel – is core business for us as individual Christians and for us as church.

Is that where we spend most of our time and effort though? Or do we tend to be navel-gazers and nit-pickers, and so consumed with the business and busyness of church life that we forget to just be still and quiet, being rejuvenated in God’s loving arms and listening for his voice and guidance?

And do we invest our energy and emotion so much in the people already in the church – and sometimes more negatively than positively – that we fail to make time for and share hospitality with those outside of it?

I know I’ve been guilty at times of neglecting the not-yet-Christians God leads me to. Of not taking the opportunities to be that witness I am called to be. I have not always reflected the light and love of Jesus to those who don’t know the blessings of being in a relationship with him.

I’m not saying that relationships within the church are unimportant. They are a great gift. Another of our primary roles within our faith families is to build one another up, as we work for God’s kingdom together. Nor am I saying that the organisation and administration of institutional church matters and practice are things we can ignore.

What I suspect we all need though is some perspective and some balance – because everything we have, including our mission, is a blessing from God.

So, as we look toward another Christmas, let’s ask him to help us focus on the Star of Bethlehem, to help us work together with our fellow believers in our great co-mission, and for the opportunity and courage to share the joy and hope we have with everyone around us.

And I pray that you’ll see that same hope and joy reflected by members of our Lutheran family featured in these pages.

As this is the last edition for 2023, I would like to thank you, our readers, subscribers and group collectors for your support and loyalty – especially after our switch to six editions this year. My gratitude goes, too, to our wonderful team – Linda Macqueen (executive editor), Elysia McEwen (graphic designer), columnists Helen Brinkman and Bishop Paul Smith, proofreaders Lyall Kupke and Kathy Gaff, Olivia Harman and others who have stepped in to help with subscription administration, and Trevor Bailey and all at Openbook Howden.

Have a safe, happy and blessed Christmas,


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