Advent Message from Revd Dr Irene John
They lived in a period when despots and tyrants ruled: their land was covered in darkness, human life was vulnerable and the future looked bleak. At this time, there was the pax Romana—the Roman ‘peace’. The pax Romana, was subjugation rather than peace, with Rome ruthlessly using heavy military might to crush all opposition. Into this darkness, light appeared with the first coming of Jesus Christ – Immanuel, God with us. Jesus came to bring a radically different kind of peace that was not about military prowess, but of reconciliation with God, if we would let him clean up what is in the human heart – the pride, selfishness, anger, hatred, prejudice, unforgiveness, envy and greed, that manifests itself in evilacts and in the brokenness of the world.
Then and now, nothing much has changed: Today we live in a world of darkness and brokenness: peace and good will are in short supply, wars and civil unrest abound, the violation of human rights and freedom form part of an ever-increasing circle. Even in places where there are no wars or civil disturbances, there seems to be political malaise with infighting and failings in plain sight, there is the cost of living and economic crises, racial tension, environmental disasters, and many more that are fueling feelings of hopelessness, disappointment, fear and frustration. We long for light to penetrate the darkness in our world. We yearn for a peaceful world, where there is no more war, oppression, violence, hunger, hatred and injustice, but we need to accept that the storms of life will at times rage, there will be things we cannot explain and challenges that seem to serve no greater purpose.
Yet, friends, there is still hope! This season of advent, leading on to Christmas, and the new year is a reminder that God has a plan that is unfolding even when we don’t see or understand it. Underneath all that seems to be crumbling is a firm foundation provided by the God who is mystery. God in Christ is still our Immanuel, the God who is with us, even when we struggle to catch sight of him, or comprehend situations. So, with joyful expectation let us celebrate this season, with the confidence that Jesus will always be there for us and with us in all that happens. Look for the glimmer of light that will always shine through, and become that light to lighten the darkness of others.The powers of darkness will not have the final word, for:Jesus,is the light that shines in the darkness,and the darkness has never put it out John 1:5
I pray that the light of Christ will shine in your Christmas celebrations, and may it be with you in the coming year.