From your Vicar - Page 1
2015 has been a tumultuous year. The news headlines have been dominated by the refugee crisis, war in Syria and the recent horrific events in Paris have reminded us of the ever present threat of terrorism and its evil in the world.
In to this turmoil comes Christmas. For many people the Christmas seasons offers escapism: a chance to put behind us the cares and anxieties of the world and focus on joy, happiness and over indulgence. Yet despite our best efforts the world does not stop for Christmas. While the halls are decked with boughs of holly, presents are wrapped and we rock around the Christmas tree (or whatever you do at Christmas!), the world with its suffering, pain and evil still goes on. Christmas happens in the midst of whatever is happening in our world, good or bad and it is into this world we celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus.
The prophet Isaiah, foretelling this event said this:
- The people who walked in darkness
····have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
····on them light has shined.
·For a child has been born for us,
····a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
····and he is named
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
····Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The birth of any child is filled with awe and wonder. Yet the birth of this particular baby is altogether something different.
From your Vicar - Page 2
The birth of this particularly baby is moment when a great light shines into a world engulfed in darkness.
- Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight
An oft held complaint against God is that he stands far off aloof to the evils and sufferings of this world. However Christmas reminds us of quite the opposite: God entered into this world, became as one of us, took upon himself the sin, evil and suffering of the world in order for it to be defeated and for there to be everlasting peace.
Christmas is a wonderful season of joy and happiness. But lasting joy and happiness is never going to be found in giving or receiving the best presents, surviving the most awkward staff party, chasing after nostalgic trimmings or enjoying a season of guilt-free-gluttony. True joy and happiness is above all else found in celebrating the birth of the King who will eventually bring about everlasting peace.
As the church we find ourselves caught up in God’s reconciliation project. A project that began on the first Christmas and will, as Scripture promises, end when Jesus will come again and all God’s enemies - evil, sin, pain, suffering and death - will be defeated. And as we wait for God’s plan to come to completion let us pursue all that makes for peace.
May God bless you richly and fill you with his peace this Christmas time.