After a year of terrible war in Ukraine and disastrous floods closer to home, in which people have lost loved ones, homes, livelihoods, where are they to find security and hope? Amidst fragile recovery from pandemic and rising cost of living, how do we deal with anxiety and uncertainty?
At Christmas, God comes to us as a newborn baby, the most vulnerable of creatures; as a homeless family, like those who’ve lost everything in our river-lands or Ukraine; as a victim or near-miss amidst the slaughter of innocents.
We encounter the infinite Power who sustains the universe—in something small and helpless. The infinite Love who dreams us and our cosmos into being—unloved in His own creation. The greatest Truth ever told—ignored and rejected.
A pregnant girl faces disgrace. A young couple are shunted by unsympathetic officials and shunned by unwelcoming innkeepers. They must make do with a farmhouse and feeding trough for birthing suite and crib. Hotly pursued by a violent king, they flee as refugees to a foreign land.
Coming to dwell with us, God didn’t have an easy ride, but He wanted to share all the up and downsides of a human life. Some called him ‘Emmanuel—God with us’; others ‘Jesus—God saves us’; others again ‘Son of Man—God one of us.’ With us, saving us, one of us: He was God in the thick of things, including the hard bits.
At Christmas we hear Him for the first time, not in thunderclap or trumpet blast, not in fine words or solemn pageant, but in a baby’s cry. Out of cries of helplessness comes the sound of hope. Out of hunger, cold, discomfort, the most beautiful sound ever heard. God-made-baby for us, so the human heart would not give in to darkness but see a great light.
Hope amidst flood, war, economic challenge: this hope is named Christmas and it can overcome the bleakest challenges. It means we join the angels on the first Christmas night singing glory to God on high and peace to people here below.
May God bless you and your loved ones with Christmas peace and hope.
For a video or audio copy of the 2022 Christmas message click here.