Christmas promises Hope.
Every day the news is full of rather depressing stories. There is so much that suggests everything is falling apart. But Christmas shares a vision of a world that gets better. The birth of any child is a sign of hope. The birth of the Christmas Child is hope for the world, a promise that change is coming.
Christmas promises Peace.
“Peace upon earth is the prayer we offer. Peace was the promise when Jesus was born.” This is the beginning of a song on my favourite Christmas tape. Back during the First World War there is a story of German and Canadian troops leaving their trenches to celebrate the holiday together. Christmas promises a peace that breaks down all “official” opposition. Christmas promises a peace based not in “might makes right” or “winner take all” but in justice and abundance for all.
Christmas promises Joy.
“Joy to the World, the Lord is come” Christmas joy is not happiness. It is something deeper. Christmas promises a joy that comes from deep within. Christmas joy is a sense of contentment, of knowing that we are not alone, of knowing that God is active in the world. We are promised a joy that shines through the troubles of our lives.
Christmas promises Love.
At Christmas gifts are given. Most of them are tokens of love. Christmas reminds us of God's love made real and concrete in God's activity among us. Christmas promises us that love can still win. Christmas pushes us to open our hearts to all our neighbours. Christmas love pushes us to love all our neighbours as we love ourselves.
Christmas promises Light.
The world is a dark place. Shadows lengthen with each passing day. But in the midst of the darkness of a Northern winter Christmas shines out brightly. The light of Christmas reveals the wonder that is around us all the time. “Our God becomes Incarnate in every human birth” In the light of Christmas we can see God's face in everyone we meet. And when we can do that clearly then we will know that daylight has come. And then hope, peace, joy and love will be truly real in our lives.
May the promises of Christmas fill your lives this year!