Christmas is well behind us now, and we’re in a somewhat quieter time of year in many ways – allowing us to rest and recover from any excesses in which we may have indulged over the festive season, perhaps primarily those inevitable financial ones!
Many of us may have in our minds an idyllic image of a quiet and peaceful stable scene on that very first Christmas. But the scene, in reality, must have been far from idyllic. How many of us who are parents would wish our child to be born in the circumstances which Jesus was? But, from the incredibly difficult situation in which she found herself, Mary in delivering Jesus, delivered hope for the world, because hope is exactly what we have in Jesus. In whatever circumstances we find ourselves – however dark our lives may be – Jesus can always bring hope if we will only seek it.
On the dark, dark night of that first Christmas, not only hope, but also Light, came into the world. A Light visible to all people. The Light of hope. The Light on which we may always focus, especially when things get bad. A Light to light up the darkest night. A Light brighter than any other. Because, on that first Christmas night Jesus, the Light of the World, was born.
The Gospel according to St John Chapter 1, verse 3 tells us: “What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” And verse 9: “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.” (Biblical quotations from the New Revised Standard Version).
With the excitement and the anticipation (and the expense) of Christmas behind us, some of us can find ourselves in a dark place. The party’s over, so to speak. We’ve had the fun, and we’re back to reality, and sometimes that prospect can be grim. This time of the year the weather can be bad, the days short, the dark nights long, and the bills never-ending.
But, friends, when the going gets tough and the problems seem unsurmountable, I would encourage you to place your hope in Jesus, the Light of the World. Those promises in the Bible are very real, and they’re for all of us. If you need help in overcoming those very real problems, or wish to learn more of the hope that Jesus can give, please come and speak about it. Because with the help of Jesus and faith in him, he can shine through our darkness, so that we will hopefully not only see the light, but be able to feel the hope that He gives.
I wish you all a very happy, healthy, hopeful and Light-filled New Year.
Yours in Christ,
Annie Billson, Associate Priest