We have all been shocked by the recent events in Paris with the huge loss of life. So many families continue to be affected, especially when several members of the same family have been killed or injured.
We sometimes forget that the birth of Jesus in Palestine 2000 years ago was set against a background of political instability, where many similar things were happening. Roman rule was strictly enforced but there were also attempted insurrections and any dissention was brutally dealt with.
One of the central messages of Advent is hope. Hope, even in dark times. This prophecy of Isaiah, often read during Advent and Christmas, was set against a background of war. The prophet says this to his people
The people who walk in darkness
will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness,*
a light will shine Isaiah 9: 2;6-7
To the first hearers this prophecy was God’s promise that he would send a leader to them in the darkness of their suffering,.. These words are read in our day to remind us of the hope that Jesus’ coming brings, irrespective of what may be happening in our lives.
The message Christians always have to share, but especially during Advent and Christmas, is one of hope because we proclaim that God is with the human race, even in the dark places. He is with us, not only as Jesus, the baby, whose birth many celebrate, but also as the man he grew to be and who still brings hope and light to the many dark places existing in the world in 2015.
I hope that as you mark the Christmas festival this year you may be able to know something of the hope that Jesus offers you, not just in this season but throughout the year.
With best wishes