Dr Kate Harrison Brennan launches our Advent series with a reflection on Christ interrupting our world in a beautiful, political and dramatic way.
Tim Middlemiss runs a creative agency in Sydney and is a proud new dad.
Today's reading is Malachi 4:5-6
There are two types of people in the world.
Those that think babies are cute, and those that do not.
For 30 years, I have sat firmly in the latter camp, holding strongly to my belief that every baby looks like a miniaturised elderly man.
Six weeks ago today, I found an exception. My wife and I welcomed our first baby into the world, a daughter, Evelyn. She is, objectively awesome and, dare I say, unexpectedly beautiful.
I was told by everyone and anyone in the lead up to the birth that having a child would change everything. One thing I've learnt over the last few weeks is that while there is plenty of changing (I'm looking at you, nappies), the biggest change is one of perspective.
I've come to realise, over the past few weeks that when I think of my time, my energy and my work not through my own eyes, but through the lens of our little baby girl; I'm not only a better parent, and a better husband, but I'm better for it. It focuses me on the things that matter most - for someone with an incurable case of FOMO, that's a big lesson to learn.
The same is true when I, like Malachi in this passage, turn my thoughts to the future. When I think about the type of world I want to leave for Evelyn, not the type of living I want to carve out for myself.
Like any new parent, when I turn my heart to consider my daughter, I'm drawn to think about the long view - what will they be like when they grow up? What work will they do? When can they start doing chores? Thinking about the long term is a constant reminder that the span of our lives may be short, but the arc of our universe is long, and as Eliza reminded us on Day 5, it bends toward justice. It pushes me to make decisions not for the here and now, but for later; for a world in which my daughter, and millions more, will have their chance to thrive because the playing field is just a little more level.
In those moments when my heart is turned to Evie, I've come to realise that it's also turned to the heart of the gospel. To a story of sacrificial love. A story of enduring hope. A story of unexpected beauty.
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Daily Reading Malachi 4:5-6
5 Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse.