The traditional Boxing Day chore of clearing up the house of Christmas Day parcels is philosophically poignant for ministry.
As the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years then moving sideways to 'Life After Cricket' in 2001 and 'Cricket family respite' in 2007 – I have enjoyed numerous Boxing Day Cricket Tests.
However, there is also another aspect of Boxing Day, that as a symbolic precursor for the New Year. On the one hand there is a packing-up of what has been in the past year; and on the other hand there is a preparation for January 1 with its hopes and dreams for the future.
In my view, this is certainly the situation with Well-Being Australia as the forthcoming New Year will bring much anticipation of hope within the ministry.
Over the past few month we have been planning a process of fresh ministry adventures, this is not unlike the love affair that cricket aficionados have for the Boxing Day and New Year's Test matches, which coincide with celebrations, respectively, of the conclusion of one year and the start of the next.
This sentiment is echoed in three major ideas in Christian ministry.
- First, there is an undeniable tie between what was and what is to come;
- Second, there is an expression of trust that what was will be built upon in the future;
- Third, there is a certainty of hope from the past to an even brighter future.
These three expressions of hope bring to Christian ministry an assurance that implants the strengths of the past's foundations into a new year with fresh expectations.
Anticipation is a theme than runs right through the Scriptures, and the period between Boxing Day to the New Year exemplifies it.
The enjoyment of the holiday Test Matches is one manifestation of linking this Christian philosophy to everyday life.
For those families who enjoy the beach culture, the Scripture Union's 'Beach Missions' celebrating Jesus as Lord, that run on many of Australia's beaches during this same time-slot, has a similar impact on many holiday makers.