The promise of Advent

Join us this Advent and make a promise to give children a brighter future


Light, whether natural or man-made, is fundamental for getting things done. Without the sun we can’t see, and we rely on different kinds of light – lightbulbs, candles, fairy lights and torches – especially in winter! Without light, life would lose both colour and meaning.

As we journey through Advent, we will look at the well-known passage at the start of John’s Gospel, which declares that the light of Christ is coming into the world. How can we begin to make sense of these verses when we’re surrounded by situations that trouble us?

You are invited to join us on this journey, exploring the light of Christ, and the light we shine in the lives of young people who are experiencing dark situations.

The life was the light of all people

3 December

'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.' (John 1.1-4).

Lightbulbs meet a basic need. They’re functional, providing light on demand the second we need it. We simply flick a light switch and suddenly we’re able to see. But lightbulbs are sometimes taken for granted. I’ll flick on a light to cook an evening meal without even thinking about it – but cooking would certainly be a challenge in the dark!

During this Advent season, we look forward to celebrating the light of Christ coming into the world. It’s worth pausing to think about what it means to celebrate this light. The opening verses of John 1 remind us that the Son of God, the Christ, came into the world to bring light and life to all people. His coming into a dark and desperate world enables every individual to thrive. A light is switched on.

Shining a light this Christmas

Motivated by a belief that all young people should flourish, this Christmas we promise this to help to meet the needs of young people who aren’t safe, aren’t loved and can’t cope.

We work with the most vulnerable children, regardless of their background or circumstances.

Every child is valuable, and each one is deserving of light this Christmas. That light may come by having family around them, feeling secure, or having access to emotional support. We promise to work with young people to help meet some of these needs.

No child should feel alone this Christmas.

As we prepare to celebrate the light of Christ coming into the world, let’s join in this narrative of hope, and commit to helping vulnerable young people thrive today.

By giving your time, voice, money or prayers, you can help us bring about the change young people need.

 

Black lightbulb icon

This Christmas, there are many children who are experiencing darkness, who aren’t safe, aren’t loved and can’t cope. We are working to change their lives.

Make a promise to join us

A light shines in the darkness

10 December

'The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.' (John 1.5).

In the times we need light the most, we might use a torch. It’s a bright light, which shines where other light can’t reach: down a dark road, under a sofa, or in a cellar. When I think about the usefulness of a torch, camping trips instantly come to mind – I’m not sure how I’d manage to crawl into my sleeping bag late at night without one!

We are committed to shining a light into the lives of young people experiencing some of the darkest situations. We work with 10 to 18 year-olds who have had the most challenging experiences in their family life, in their school or in their community. Children like Rosie.

When she was 12 years old, Rosie was struggling at school and getting into trouble with teachers. At home, she was arguing with her mum. Rosie felt stressed and wanted to get away – so she started going missing. After the police were called, Rosie got involved with a charity who referred her to us. Rosie’s project worker educated her about the risks of going missing, and supported Rosie into a new school referral unit.

Things started to improve for Rosie, until one day she was sexually assaulted when walking home. She returned to us and received therapeutic one-to-one support from her project worker. Rosie then joined the service’s group work, meeting up with other young people in similar situations.

Rosie is now 16 and enjoying working with the group to raise awareness of issues around child sexual exploitation. She no longer goes missing and her relationship with her mum has improved. We were able to work with Rosie to offer her the promise of a brighter future. She would like to work for us in the future as a project worker.

The promise of Christmas is that darkness does not overcome the light. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, comes into the world as a baby, bringing the light that we sometimes struggle to find. We are called to carry this light into the world, but we know that we do not do it alone.

Take some time this week to think about the power of a torch, shining into the darkest situations. We remember that this Christmas the light of God shines into the world, no matter what challenging situations might lie before us this Advent season.

This Christmas, there are many children who are experiencing darkness, who aren’t safe, aren’t loved and can’t cope. We are working to change their lives.

Will you make a promise to join us?

The promise of a better future

17 December

'The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world' (John 1.9).

I can vividly remember a power cut my family experienced one Christmas – we had to light all the candles and cook jacket potatoes in the fireplace.

Although it took us some time to locate any matches in the dark, eventually the flames provided the heat and light we needed for our family meal. There is something truly magical about the warm light created by a candle, which makes any room feel so Christmassy.

A candle is right at the heart of a Christingle service, acting as a reminder that Jesus is the light of the world.

When we light this candle, we remember the promise that the true light is coming into the world. You may have had a Christingle service already, or it may be still to come over the Christmas period. Christingle is an opportunity to be still and to remember the promise of God to us: the light of Christ.

A candle is fragile. It radiates a powerful light, but it flickers as it burns. We remember this fragility at Christingle too. Young people might be ignored amidst the bright lights of the Christmas season.

This Christmas more than 200 children who have been forced to run away will be harmed or hurt. We are working to make sure that this Christmas, no child feels alone.

Christmas is a time of promise – of happiness, friends, and of family – and we believe each child deserves the promise of a better future.

A Christingle celebration not only reminds us of the light of Christ, but calls to mind the light that is within each one of us. The true light which enlightens everyone. A candle brings much light but it requires oxygen to burn. We, in our fragile state, need the life-giving breath of the Holy Spirit to ignite our souls and empower us to act.

Why not take this opportunity to make a promise to the most vulnerable young people in your community. How can you live out the message of Christingle and be a shining light?

This Christmas, there are many children who are experiencing darkness, who aren’t safe, aren’t loved and can’t cope. We are working to change their lives.

Will you make a promise to join us?

Happy Christmas – let’s celebrate!

24 December

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth. (John 1.14).

Fairy lights, to me, represent celebration. Weddings, festivals and birthday parties are all excellent opportunities to whip out fairy lights. I associate them with happy memories, parties, and toasting to friends and family.

But Christmas is a challenging time for fairy lights! Most people seem to have a couple of sets that emerge every year to adorn the Christmas tree. These are often ridiculously tangled – I’m sure most of us would count it a success if all the strings came out neatly first time around.

I’m convinced that the meticulous effort that goes into unravelling and draping several sets of lights beautifully round a tree is something to be applauded. As someone who just wants to get on with hanging baubles on the tree, I’m inclined to wonder whether it’s more effort than it’s worth.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably spent much of the last few weeks considering Christmas gifts, buying wrapping paper, scribbling down Christmas menus. But, as with the ordeal of untangling the fairy lights, perhaps you feel as though it’s a lot of effort for the celebration to come. Is it all worth it?

Let us pause and take a second to reflect, to remember why we celebrate. We do so because a child is born. Born into a world of pain and confusion. In the midst of anxiety, regret, uncertainty and doubt, a little baby is born into a stable. It doesn’t seem out of the ordinary, but he’s here on earth amongst struggling humanity. And he’ll go on to challenge authority, to make paths for the broken and shout about injustice. He’ll restore, redeem and make right.

Why do we celebrate? The promise of hope to come.

This Christmas, there are many children who are experiencing darkness, who aren’t safe, aren’t loved and can’t cope. We are working to change their lives.

Will you make a promise to join us?