Dear Friends and Neighbours, I don’t know about you but I often struggle with the dark evenings and even darker nights that December brings. So I love it when people begin to decorate their windows, out door trees and even the whole of their houses… and the streets begin to glitter with twinkly Christmas lights. I find myself smiling even at the gaudiest of lights because there’s just something about light in the dark that brings a sense of reassurance and comfort. Lights twinkling and shining in the dark seem to project a sense of hopefulness… and Christmas is a season of light and of hope.
A few years ago in a speech to the House of Lords the Archbishop of Canterbury said “We need a narrative of hope’… and Christmas brings with it that narrative of hope as it reminds us once again that hope came and still comes to us in the form of Jesus. Jesus was and is that hope …that light in the darkness… that hope in the midst of hardship and despair. He is the light that shines into every corner of gloom, illuminating every corner of fading human hope. The ancient words of Isaiah sum it up beautifully; “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” This is the narrative of Hope! This is the Good News of Christmas and this is the reason we celebrate …not just because a child was born 2000 years ago… but because God gave His light to the world and hope through Jesus His son. He is the hope that illuminates the next step for the weary, burdened and broken. His is the hope of a new way for the marginalised and displaced. A hope that frees those enslaved by addiction and lies; A hope of peace and reconciliation for those whose lives are in conflict. A hope that gives us a sense of home and a place of belonging.
Our Christmas lights are only up for a season and however beautiful they are they are only man made and often fail us. But the light and hope of Jesus is for all seasons… for every situation and for every day and for every single one of us… and never fails.
So I hope and pray you have a very Happy Christmas and that in amongst all the festivities you might experience something of the light and hope and love of Jesus.
Cathy Bladen, Rector