Merry Christmas Everyone?

'Snow is falling all around us, children singing having fun, it’s the season for love and understanding, merry Christmas everyone.'

Well there is not much in the way of snow out there. Children playing, having fun? Well possibly, they may well be opening some of their presents.

'It’s the season for love and understanding', well now that is highly debatable. A quick look back at the year that is passed will show little  love and understanding: there have been continuing hostilities in Syria which only seem to be getting worse, not mentioning all the other conflicts; there is an unprecedented amount of terrorist attacks all over Europe, the lasted only last week in a Christmas market in Germany; there is political unrest with the rise of the far right, and not to mention the turmoil that has come with the vote for Brexit and Trump.

Merry Christmas everyone!

But there is nothing new under the sun, for life has always been the same. The world in which we live is full beauty but we just cannot see it. Christmas Day, falls on one of the shortest day of the year, whether this be accident of design does not matter, for now we are standing at the darkest time of the year and we are welcoming the light of Christ into the world, bringing hope to all who embrace it.

The world around us may seem dark and may seem to be getting darker, but it is at times like these that the light, the hope of Christmas will shine through. On Wednesday last week, the shortest day of the year, three stories in the news struck me; they struck because they were full of hope when there should have been no hope at all.

The first was the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the Christmas Market, although there were voices of dissent, there were far more voice of unity and communication between the different communities in Germany. They were working together to defeat those who attacked them not by fighting back but by continuing to live their lives, trying to understand each other, welcoming those who have lost so much.

Then there was the re-consecration of St Joseph's Cathedral church in Erbil in Syria in time for Christmas, after it was partly destroyed in the recent troubles.They were and are full of hope for the future, even though they have been persecuted for being Christians. What filled me with the greatest hope was they did not hate their Islamic brothers and sisters, but the complete opposite, offering them their help, giving them shelter within St Joseph’s when they were all under siege.

The last story was about a young lady from the Congo who lost all her family and all she had, she found shelter in this country only to be turned away. It was looking like she had to live on the streets when one of her case workers offered her a room in her house, a great bond was formed between them so much so the young lady now calls her mum.

Even in the darkest hour there is light, there is hope and the darkness can never overcome it, to know this is to know the truth. Know this to be the truth: Jesus was born into our world as the incarnate Son of God, true God and true man.

He was born as one of us in all our weakness, in all our failings and in all our love.

he was born that God may truly know us and that we may truly know God.

That is the truth this Christmas, today and every day.

Now let us go out and tell our brothers and sisters that God, our God, has come into our lives today and every day.

In doing this we bring hope, we bring the light of Christ into everyone's lives, not just on this day of Christmas but every day.

'Snow is falling all around us', this week it was reported that it snowed in the Sahara Desert for first time in 37 years.

'Children playing having fun', rest assured there are many children around enjoying the fun of Christmas, and although I may not be young, the child within me, as I am sure the child with in us all cannot wait to get out and have some fun.

It’s the season of love and understanding, as the light of Christ dispels the darkness in our lives so will it bring us hope, and with that comes love and understanding.

Merry Christmas everyone!