2020 Christmas Reflection
Hope in a chaotic world. What does hope look like, feel like, sound like? It will be different for each one of us, depending on our circumstances. For me, seeing the first shoots poking through the soil in Spring and the buds appearing on the barren branches of trees always give me a burst of joy, a sense of hope and optimism for the year ahead. There is space for growth, for possibility, for beauty. There is the satisfaction of knowing that no matter how severe and long the winter has been, nature has prevailed and new life is bursting into being.
In the gospel according to Luke, we hear two parents proclaiming great hope. When Mary travels to visit her cousin, she greets Elizabeth with the defiant and joyful words of the praise prayer we now call the Magnificat. Those who have power and privilege have been swept away, those who are lowly and hungry are raised up. Mary’s personal experience of becoming pregnant has been transformed into a proclamation of hope for a new way of being, a new world order. Elizabeth too is pregnant. When her son John is born, his father Zechariah proclaims a message of hope, promising a mighty saviour who will bring light into the darkness and who will guide the people “into the way of peace”.
The birth of Jesus was a small event, witnessed by a few. Yet those who were part of the story realised that they were part of something much bigger, something yet to be fully revealed. Hope does not give us the whole picture, rather a sense of direction, a sense of purpose. It lifts our spirits and helps us to imagine better times.
As we continue to navigate our way through this pandemic, through the daily challenges that we face, the steadfast love of God remains constant. The promise of new life, a new way of being through the birth of Jesus gives us hope. Jesus, the Light of the World guides us into the way of peace.