Christ­mas: Cel­e­brat­ing hope in Christ

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Editorial - BY FA­THER LEE LAINEY ST. ANN’S PAR­ISH

In the Book of the prophet Isa­iah, it is writ­ten: “The peo­ple who walked in dark­ness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep dark­ness – on them a light has shone.” (Isa­iah 9: 2).

As we ap­proach an­other Christ­mas sea­son, we are be­gin­ning to pre­pare our­selves for an­other busy time: dec­o­rat­ing the home, in­side and out; buy­ing the per­fect gifts for fam­ily and friends; fam­ily visit­ing from away and so on.

As we go about our prepa­ra­tions, we can­not help but think about the dark­ness both in our lives and our world. And what is that dark­ness? There is no short­age of ex­am­ples. For in­stance, we have con­flict in many parts of the world, ten­sions be­tween na­tions and eth­nic groups, protests against govern­ment in­dif­fer­ence to so­cial is­sues, in­crease in poverty and the cost of liv­ing; the more ap­par­ent im­pacts of cli­mate change, ever in­creas­ing dis­trust of in­sti­tu­tions. All of this is in ad­di­tion to the many chal­lenges we face in our own per­sonal lives.

As we pre­pare for Christ­mas, we should not lose sight of what the sea­son is re­ally all about. In the Gospel of Luke, the An­gel says to the shep­herds: “Do not be afraid; for see — I am bring­ing you good news of great joy: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Christ, the Lord.” (Luke 2:10).

It’s im­por­tant to point out that shep­herds were at the bot­tom of the so­cial lad­der and did not have great power or in­flu­ence, and yet it was to them that the good news was an­nounced.

Later in the Gospel, af­ter see­ing the child Je­sus in the manger, “the shep­herds re­turned, glo­ri­fy­ing and prais­ing God.” ( Luke 2: 20). What those shep­herds found in Je­sus was a source of great hope, hope that God would be with them. One of the ti­tles at­trib­uted to Je­sus is Em­manuel, that is, God-is-with-us.

In Je­sus, “The Word be­came flesh and lived among us...” (John 1: 14).

In Je­sus, God brought about the hope of a bet­ter world for all of us, a world in which love is greater than hate, hope is greater than de­spair and light is greater than dark­ness. Through­out his pub­lic life, Je­sus made that hope real for so many peo­ple by heal­ing the sick, reach­ing out to the poor, speak­ing out against in­jus­tice. He called it the King­dom of God.

As we spend the Christ­mas sea­son in the com­pany of fam­ily and friends, let us ask the Lord to touch our hearts with his joy and love and, in turn, share that love and joy with those around us. Let’s make a spe­cial ef­fort to share the hope­ful mes­sage of Christ­mas with those who are in need of hope. Let’s pause, take a deep breath, look upon the child in the manger, and rest in the love and joy of­fered to us there.

On be­half of St. Ann’s Par­ish, I would like to wish all of you a happy and joy­ful Christ­mas sea­son, and a hope­ful New Year.

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