Happy Christmas Refuge!
This past week I spoke with two neighbours. One was struggling with the daily pressure of caring for her elderly mum who suffers from severe dementia. She explained how exhausting caring for her mum was and how she had very little joy in life. The other neighbour had recently been told there was not much that could be done for her ageing hips, which cause moment-by-moment pain. She explained how exhausted and fed up she was. There will be many for whom Christmas will be a struggle. Christmas day will be difficult—as every other day is. Our world has a shadow cast over it—a shadow of sadness, brokenness, illness, disease, and on and on.
There would be reason for despair if it were not for Christmas.
This advent, we studied Isaiah’s prediction—made some 700 years prior to its fulfilment—that upon a dark and gloomy world a light would dawn. Isaiah said that the light would be a person, a gift from God:
To us a child is born, to us a son is given.
Isaiah declared that this child would be called,
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah was prophesying about Jesus.
Jesus would be the light dawning. Mighty God, would be born!
We also studied Luke’s account of the Christmas story. We read of an angel announcing good news to shepherds:
A Saviour has been born to you.
The Christmas message is that God sent us a Saviour! This baby would grow up living a perfect life and then die a sacrificial death; all so we could be in relationship with God again and gain everlasting life in His presence. Christmas is the celebration of God with us; the birth of our Saviour. It is rightly called the season of hope, joy and peace.
Into the darkness came light
This is good news for my neighbours and all those struggling. I’m praying for more opportunities to share this message with them. Our own congregation has witnessed God’s faithfulness in making light come from darkness. This time last year we were in the throngs of darkness facing an uncertain future. Corporately, it has been a challenging year, and many of us have had our own struggles. However, our God is One who excels in bringing light from darkness and I do believe that is the trajectory we are on as a church. Our God remains close to those who are struggling. He has guided us to where we are today; a family striving to love God and others. And what a way to end the year; another child has been born to us—congratulations to the Beggs on the birth of Zachary James!
Wishing you all a blessed Christmas,