God so loved the world that He gave His Only Son (John 3, 16)
- Greetings my dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ! “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens as He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world…for adoption to Himself through Jesus Christ” (Eph.1:2-5).
- Brethren, we are once again graced with the Season of Advent; an occasion of preparation for the celebration of the incommensurable love of God manifested in the unreserved gift of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. His Son assumed our human nature through the mystery of incarnation in order to bring us Salvation (Jn. 3:6). Such was His purpose and good pleasure…so that we may gain our freedom and forgiveness of our sins (Eph. 1:5-7). Through this immeasurable love of God, we have all been offered access to the heavenly Kingdom (Col. 1:13-14).
- Our Advent Season this year comes at a time when our country is faced with economic challenges of a biting economy (where families cannot make ends meet), coupled with energy crisis, job losses, political rivalry, hateful speech and the tribal tone that seem not to be quieter at any rate. Such an environment can bring about aching pain of a life without meaning or purpose; a fear of an unknown future and eventually death itself.
- However, everything happens for a purpose – so that we can draw lessons for our life and the future. As the philosopher Socrates once said, “an unexamined life is not worth living” meaning that we are unable to grow towards greater understanding of ourselves unless we are able to take time to examine and reflect upon our lives, our environment and our society; and to consequently make amends.
- My dear brothers and sisters, there is a question that comes to mind in view of our landscape namely: what does it mean to wait and prepare for Christmas celebration with the current weakening Kwacha; the unabated energy crisis; the geography of job losses; the worrisome hatred of people of different interest groupings which is aggravated by hateful speech; the wilful manipulation of information just to suit interested groupings at the expense of the majority, the innocent and the poor, who in most cases have no access to information.
- This Season of Advent, of waiting and preparing for the Lord should help us to see these challenges we are faced with, with the eyes of faith, the eyes of God; whereby fate can be recognized as an opportunity – an opportunity to grow and succeed; whereby wounds, bruises and hurts of a collapsed industry should be seen as warnings and lessons to be taken seriously so as to change our attitude towards our way of life and our business conduct. And in times of confusion and paralysis, we should be able to seek to understand that these moments are an invitation to search for deeper sources of strength in God and to begin to do what is needful, correct and morally right.
- During this period of Advent we are being exhorted to heed to the prophetic call to repentance and reconciliation. “A voice is calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the Way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him’” (Mk. 1:3). My dear brothers and sisters, the desired repentance and reconciliation is supposed to begin at personal level and then it will have an impact on society as a whole. As a matter of example, some of our economic and political challenges we are facing at the moment are not only a result of natural causes, but are also of human design. Think of the high levels of corruption in our country; the wrong attitude towards work and public property; the lack of patriotism among our people; inadequate governing policies; the unwarranted expenses and the lack of planning for the future. These and many more are human mistakes which are perpetrated by ourselves, and in most cases due to greed. A sincere repentance and conversion of heart is needed henceforth from each and every one of us in order to be delivered from greed, that excessive appetite for non-essentials of life.
- An adequate preparation for the Lord during this Advent season calls for a sincere heart, a heart that is willing to participate and contribute with initiatives not only in personal renewal but also in national re-building; be it in value addition, job creation, enhanced productivity so as to mitigate the already high cost of living, and to create an accessible and affordable market for all. This calls for sacrifice from all of us – if our nation is to once again find itself on the road to national re-construction.
- It is my wish that everyone of us will be responsible and accountable especially now and more so for those with authority over others to be focused on national reconstruction and to be derring-do what is most needful in order to change attitudes in our people towards work, property, resources and to make amends for a better Zambia, a greater economy, a united people, a nation free of malice and hatred.
- The Lord assures us that He will never leave us alone, even in these hard times of our economy, because nothing can separate us from the love Christ (Rom.8:39). Let us also be a brother’s keeper. God will make the impossible possible with each and every one of us who waits on Him.
- May the blessings of Christmas celebrations, of the New Born King Jesus Christ, the Emmanuel – God with us remain with you for a prosperous 2016. And may Mary, the Mother of the New Born King intercede for us.
Given this at Ndola, on the 22nd November, 2015, on the Solemnity of Christ the King.
+Dr Alick Banda
Bishop of Ndola