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16 December 2022

Principal's end of year message 2022

  • From the Principal

Dear Emmaus families and friends,

Having recently experienced the personal blessing of visiting the Holy-Land in person, I reflect on the Christmas season we are entering with a new sense of lived-reality shaped by a personal faith now complimented with first-hand memories and experiences. As I reflect on this season of celebrating Jesus’ birth and the various events of the nativity narrative, I would like to share a few glimpses of my experiences with you (complete with some Holy-Land ‘selfies’!).

Mary and Joseph’s faithfulness takes on a new perspective when standing before the very ruins of Mary’s house in Nazareth where the angel Gabriel appeared to her sharing the journey ahead for her and Joseph (Luke 1:26-38). These ruins have been preserved for all times within the safety of the Church of the Annunciation.

Ruin’s of Mary’s house within the Church of the Annunciation

Similarly, it was a deeply spiritual experience in Bethlehem looking down the narrow cobblestone road (now named ‘Star Street’) winding down to the location of the stables behind the Inn, that was too full to accommodate Joseph and the heavily pregnant Mary (Luke Chapter 2).

Star Street with the Church of the Nativity in the distance

In place of the stables in which Jesus was born, now stands the Church of the Nativity. Under this Church is a cave-like structure which is said to be the location of the stables/manger where Jesus was born. Putting actual historical accuracies to the side, it was a deeply spiritual experience kneeling at the site that Jesus was believed to have been born (Matthew 1:25).

The birth place of Jesus under the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

The above three images set the scene for Jesus’ formative years growing up in Nazareth, baptism in the Jordan River, subsequent ministry in Jerusalem, performing miracles in Capernaum, preaching the ‘sermon-on-the-mount’ on shore of the sea of Galilee, and death and resurrection at Golgotha – but these are all ‘selfies’ for me to share at another time!

As we look to the end of 2022 and the Christmas season ahead, I encourage you all to enjoy the songs / hymns we all like to sing and the nativity plays we will no-doubt be blessed by, however I pray that the significance of the season is as fresh and powerful for you as it is for me, with the above experiences fresh in my memory.

Blessings to you all.

Andrew Linke
Executive Principal