Chelsea Van Der Poel explores how regardless the season, God's goodness creates a hopeful new day.
On the twenty-fifth day of Advent, 2021, Brooke Prentis remembers sunrises and sunsets, capturing the eager anticipation of a new day, a celebration of God at work and Jesus with us!
Remembering, reflecting, and realising
‘See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.’
‘It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.’
The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’
And let everyone who hears say, ‘Come.’
And let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.
The one who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.
Revelation 22:12-13, 16-17, 20-21 NRSV
Are you a morning person? Or a nighttime person? I’m one of those people that is actually both. I can be up at the crack of dawn or still awake at midnight, although staying up until midnight gets harder with each passing year. Many of my friends find this intriguing about me, especially seeing most of my friends are not morning people, and so I am that annoying friend when I’m travelling that says excitedly, “Let’s get up for sunrise!” For many of my friends they would have never seen a sunrise if it wasn’t for their friend Brooke.
I have my Mum to thank for teaching me to appreciate both sunrise and sunset. Mum has taught me to appreciate the simple things in life, and to appreciate those things that are not about material possessions but moments in time, spent with creation, and with each other. Jesus teaches me the same. I’ve captured so many precious moments at sunrise and sunset, whether it was the first time I saw the sun set on the west coast of Australia sitting beside my friend Susan on Mudurup, Cottesloe Beach, or being at the easternmost point of mainland Australia where the sun first hits land at Cavanbah, Cape Byron, with Maria, Julia, Chee, Jess, Erin, and Ernie, friends from Canada and the USA, or seeing the sun rise on a beach on Kuku Yalanji Country where the rainforest meets the sea with Naomi and Josie in Far North Queensland. I’ll also never forget being on Anangu Country, at Uluru, on the first day after the Uluru climb was closed and watching sunrise with the Fusion team, and feeling as though the rock at the heart of our nation was finally able to breathe again as God had created it and as the healing journey commenced. This was one of my deepest senses of experiencing God as Alpha and Omega. And then there are the moments, just me, God, and the sunrise, with a cup of tea, a pen and paper to let the words of poetry flow, and my prayers for justice in these lands now called Australia and in our world.
Today, Christmas morning 2021, I’m sitting on Gubbi Gubbi Country, at what is now called Scarborough Beach, looking out across Moreton Bay to Mulgumpin, Moreton Island. Christmas morning 2021, I’m watching at first light, as the darkness is interrupted with the mixture of those first glows of deep orange and the light pinky purple in the sky, a beautiful gift, lighting the way before dawn. Christmas morning 2021, I’m sitting, watching, waiting, with eager anticipation for what artwork God will choose to paint on God’s canvas for this new day.
So, here I am, today, a new day is dawning, and as our brightest morning star raises its head above the horizon, I remember Jesus was born on this earth, I reflect that Jesus is with us, and I realise I, and you, indeed we, are here, listening, learning, and loving, as we say Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.
Brooke Prentis is a Wakka Wakka woman, an Aboriginal Christian Leader, and CEO of Common Grace. Brooke’s favourite place to watch sunrise is on Wakka Wakka Country with the mist-covered mountains, the light hitting the Bunya Pines, and the sounds of the call of the Eastern Whip Bird. Brooke’s second favorite place to watch sunrise is on Gubbi Gubbi country, with the salty air, the light breeze through the sheoaks, and the sounds of the pelican gliding on to the water.
With Creator, Holy Spirit, and Jesus,
Through life and death,
In our remembering,
Come, Lord Jesus.
With the lands, waters, sky and all Country,
Through joy and sorrow,
In our reflecting,
Come, Lord Jesus.
With the sunrise and the sunset,
Through injustice and inequality,
In our realising,
Come, Lord Jesus.
Photograph: Biz Adams, Sunset, Uluru, Anangu Country, Northern Territory
Visual Description: The silhouettes of people stand before the sunset. Vivid pink and deep grey cloud hangs above the golden horizon.