A Happy Christmas…
Famously, when asked what a Prime Minister most feared, Harold Macmillan is thought to have said, “Events, dear boy, events.” When I sat down to write this article in early December I was going to write about the parable of the Good Samaritan…but “events” have meant that the Good Samaritan will have to wait.
A year ago I wrote about the Ukraine, Syria and the Ebola virus…well Syria is still very much in our news and our prayers but now we also have the events in Paris to come to terms with. Paris is known as the City of Light yet for many it is now a dark and scary place. It is the nature of terrorism to attack where people feel safest, so gun men and suicide bombers brought violence and death to restaurants, theatres, football stadia and apartments. The attacks have provoked much fear and anger, but also there have been some wonderful responses of love and determination. Jesus commanded us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44), a response that runs truly contrary to human nature and one that our Christian brothers in Niger, Mali, Nigeria, Egypt, Pakistan, China and so many other places have been trying to live out for many years.
We often sing the carol “It came upon a midnight clear” on Christmas Eve. In the third verse we sing:
“Yet, with the woes of sin and strife, the world has suffered long; beneath the angels strain have rolled two thousand years of wrong; and man, at war with man, hears not the love song which they bring: O hush the noise, ye men of strife, and hear the angels sing.”
This is a dark world – but there is still light! The birth of Jesus did not mean an end to violence or fear, but it does mean the coming of hope, a bright hope, that can even shine in the darkest of places. So, let’s pray this Christmas that the message of the Angels might be heard all over the earth and that the light of Christ might shine in Paris and upon all those who live in the shadow of darkness.