By Kelly Crawford
Earlier this year I had the privilege of attending Blacktown Baptist Church for a Sunday service. I was there to interview a group of men and women who came to Australia as refugees and have since found themselves welcomed into the “family” of Blacktown Baptist Church. I’ll be sharing more of their stories in the new year.
Reflections on Christmas and God’s gift to us through the birth of Jesus Christ remind me of my time at Blacktown Baptist. It was a time of fellowship for people from a diverse range of ages, backgrounds and ethnicities. One Persian woman was baptised, a woman who wanted to publicly show her commitment to Jesus Christ despite the risk to herself of people in her home country knowing she had converted to Christianity.
Pastor Josh Duncan preached that Sunday on the conversion of Cornelius and the vision that Peter received. Peter says in Acts 10, vs. 34-35, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right” (NIV). Pastor Duncan used the opportunity that Sunday to remind everyone that God’s love and redemption is for all. As we are swept into the busyness and joy but often also grief and loneliness the holiday season, I am so grateful for this good news.
“But this I know, that He was born of Mary,
When Bethl’hem’s manger was His only home,
And that He lived at Nazareth and labored,
And so the Savior, Savior of the world, is come.”