Go back to normal view
I’m writing two days after the killings in Paris on the 13th November. One hundred and twenty-nine people are known to have died and several hundred more are wounded. The attacks appear to have come out of nowhere, targeting people simply out enjoying themselves on a Friday evening. We pray for all directly affected: the injured, the dead, the bereaved and the traumatised. We pray for healing of bodies and of minds. We pray for peace.
The world feels very dark today. The weather is overcast and the nights are definitely drawing in. We are approaching the shortest days of the year. But more than that, we have once again been faced with a stark reminder of evil – the taking of innocent life intended to cause not only death and injury, but also fear and a lack of confidence in our safety and security.
The time of Jesus’ birth was also a dark time. The Roman Empire was ruled by a virtual dictator. Those at the top of society enjoyed great wealth and influence at the expense of ordinary people. Israel was an occupied land, governed by ambitious puppet kings indulging in vicious family feuds. The religious leaders were divided between a fundamentalism and collaboration with Rome. Those who remained faithful to the vision of the prophets longed for a Messiah to come and rescue them – but they had been waiting for a long time.
It was into this dark world that Jesus came, “the light shining in the darkness”, to use the words of St John; such a tiny light – one human baby, a baby born to ordinary people in an insignificant town in a small country, which couldn’t control its own destiny. And yet that baby grew up to bring a message of hope and to live a life of sacrifice that brought about our reconciliation with God. It seemed such a tiny light – and it changed everything.
We don’t know what the days ahead will bring. We don’t know what might be asked of us, but as we celebrate Christmas, let us remember that the light of God has come into the world, and it will never leave us, no matter what we will face.
May your Christmas-tide be filled with the peace that comes from the knowledge of “God with us”.
God Bless, Janet