Christmas, in the northern hemisphere, comes at just about the darkest time of the year, so it’s not surprising that a mid-winter festival like this celebrates light, and warmth, and hospitality. The year is on the turn, and we have a sense that there’s a little more light every day, and perhaps a sense of hope.
But whichever hemisphere you live in, there are lots of dark and difficult things happening; things that make us afraid and part of the Christmas message is that we resolve not to be submerged by this fear. For after all our world now isn’t so very different or any more frightening or unstable than in many times through human history. The Christmas story, for example, offers little comfort to Mary and Joseph.
Driven from their home by bureaucracy, exiled from their country by a mad king, and even Bethlehem, famously, could not provide them with a room. And yet, when all seemed at its darkest, a light shone in the darkness and joy burst in. Against the grain of life, as it were, we offer joy and hope, the hope that the sun will shine even though there is no sign of the dawn.
And we sing with the angles of God’s glory, even when God seems silent and far away. And we sing of peace on earth and love for our enemies amidst the sound of war. And we do so, because we trust that God’s glory is displayed for all to see in a little child, and that God’s peace triumphs even against the most violent rejection.
Have a happy Christmas and may you feel close to Christ and close to God.