Peace to you and Grace from God our Father, the Lord Jesus Christ our Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit our comforter!
The Christian Council takes this opportunity to extend Christmas greetings to all, as we celebrate the Christ Event.
As we reflect on the pre – Christmas season and the many sentiments expressed, we cannot help but detect a sense of despair and hopelessness among many of our people. When we hear statements like: ‘things really bad’; ‘this is going to be the worst Christmas ever’; ‘Covid going mess up our merrymaking, no work, no money, and the crime and violence!! Mésyé!!’; and when we see the facial expression of many as they seek to survive the present economic climate or, as they seek to make sense of the post-election state of our nation or, as they try to come to terms with the reality of unfulfilled dreams and failed promises, we are convinced that our people need to hear once more the message of hope which is indicative of this festive season.
We need to hear again the words of John 3: 16:
“For God loved the world so much that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.”
That is, God’s plan for fulfilling man’s greatest need: the restoration of the pristine relationship man had with God and creation in the Genesis – atonement. The Christ Event therefore is a significant and pivotal juncture in God’s rescue mission. It provides vital sustenance for man – HOPE – as he journeys towards consummation with God – eternal blessedness with God.
This hope is deeply embedded in the birth narrative stories. Example:
The narrative from Luke which tells of how Jesus was born in a stable, wrapped in swaddling cloth and laid in a manger among the animals makes the point that God enters every human situation even that of our impoverishment.
The narrative from Matthew which speaks of the visitors from the East, the escape of the infant and parents to Egypt and the slaughter of the children, while it highlights the lengths to which man may go to hold on to power, it does make the point that neither human guile nor deceit can derail the plans of the Divine.
Another part of the birth narrative in Luke, which speaks of the birth of Jesus at the time of the census ordered by Caesar Augustus that took place during the reign of Quirinius as governor of Syria, confirms the birth of Jesus as an historical event which can be dated in world history and thereby authenticating the Christ Event.
When we search the depths of the birth narratives as recorded in the Synoptic Gospels – Matthew and Luke – we can certainly draw strength from the hope they present. A hope which says that the God we love and serve is a God who enters every human condition as He works His purpose out and that no construct, whether man made or otherwise, can defeat that purpose. Isn’t that something worthwhile rejoicing over?
What joy and peace can be ours as we come to know, to experience and to trust the assurance that in God’s unbounded love and mercy all things will be well!
It is this trust the psalmist had in God that allowed him to boldly answer the rhetorical question about the source of his sustenance in Psalm 121: “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth”.
Dame Julian of Norwich, a 12th century English mystic who loved God and devoted herself to seeking a deeper knowledge of his love, in her writings shares these words of assurance from Christ: “I can make all things well; I will make all things well; I shall make all things well and thou canst see for thyself that all manner of things shall be well”.
Throughout the ages man has found God to be the only sure foundation on which to stand. God never fails!
The Christian Council calls on all, as we celebrate the Christ Event, to embrace the promise of God and to place our faith in Christ and Christ alone so that our hope may be well-founded, and we may enjoy the peace and joy of such sure hope.
The words of the Apostle Paul as found in his letter to the Romans Chapter 15 verse 13 is our prayer for you:
May the God of hope fill you with all Joy and Peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope!
We wish you the joy, peace, and abundant life which Christ offers and may we celebrate the Christ Event in hope and receive God’s blessings as one family and one nation.
Stay safe. Follow the COVID 19 protocols. And if you are not yet vaccinated and can be vaccinated, please get vaccinated. It is our best option.
God bless you all.
Yours in Christ
The Ven. C. E. Glasgow