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Pete Graham, is Habitat's Church & Community Engagement Officer. He also facilitates the schools programme's, Change Makers & Our Waste Our World. Read his Advent reflection below:

One of the many pleasures of seeing Habitat’s work first hand and having the opportunity to share about that work in church groups, community groups and schools is that I get to hear the impact of Habitat’s work; whether that is someone who has travelled on a previous Habitat team sharing their memories and their continued passion for Habitat’s mission; or those locally who have been helped through the work of our ReStores.

It reminded me of one of my first Christmas times working for Habitat, when on the last day before the holidays I happened to be in ReStore. A young family were making a purchase of a beautiful pink children’s bed for their daughter who would have been about 6/7. Through conversation we got to hear their story and how this had been a very challenging year for them with many complex issues and circumstances and how this was going to be the daughter’s new bed in time for Christmas. Without Habitat ReStore this family would not have been able to afford a similar bed from an alternative retailer. To see amidst the struggles of the year gone by, there was a hope of a better year, a better future just in time for Christmas. Hope restored.

I don’t know what this previous year has brought you; whether times of sadness, times of joy, times of struggle and stress, times of triumph and success. Whatever 2019 has brought your way I want to remember the story of another bed; over 2000 years ago in Bethlehem where the baby Jesus was laid. Imagine the struggle and the fear of that young couple, Mary and Joseph, as they came to terms with the events of the months previously. Not knowing what the future held but trusting in God with the amazing gift He had given them and the history-making task He had chosen them for. Now after finally finding a place to stay and for the safe arrival of a baby; Mary and Joseph could look forward in hope as the Promised Saviour had arrived. That child was all part of God’s restorative plan for us all; Hope restored.

Let us remember that first Christmas, where the Light of the World broke the darkness and continues this day to bring hope to the hopeless in the darkest of circumstances.

Longing for shelter, many are homeless
Longing for warmth, many are cold.
Make us Your building, sheltering others
Walls made of living stone.

Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in Your church gathered today

Words from Christ be our Light by Bernadette Farrell

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Read more Advent reflections here.

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