Jesus … our hope at Christmas!

I’m not a parent … but that’s OK, because this week’s blog isn’t about us sharing our top tips for being a ‘great’ parent at Christmas, or a catalogue of festive ideas to try (see our social media channels for amazing content in this area!)

This blog post is from my heart to yours. My prayer is that you’re able to pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and find grace for this season. I hope it brings a renewed and fortified hope and helps us to set our eyes on Jesus, the person who brings peace and joy – Our Emmanuel.

Recently I was drawn to return to the very beginning of the story – the story of creation. It says in Genesis 1:1-4

‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light. God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness.’

Light and darkness. Our journey through 2020.

It’s been a challenging year. We’ve had to learn how to be flexible and navigate ever-changing circumstances, and walk through months of uncertainty as we find ways to handle everyone’s ups and downs, as a result of much more time spent together at home!

But at the same time, we’ve seen a 100-year-old captain raise £32million for charity, millions of people take to their doorsteps to clap for the NHS and our key workers, and a footballer make a massive difference to the lives of children throughout the country, who would have gone hungry over the school holidays.

John 1:5 tells us that ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.’ This year has been tough, but it has also provided us with so many opportunities for the light to shine brightly!

However, as we look ahead to Christmas, many of us will have our own concerns and anxieties over what it will look like this year. We may be journeying through loss, under more financial strain, struggling with social distance fatigue, or simply feeling the sadness that we may not get to see everyone we love.

For me, Christmas has been a tough season for many years. My parents announced their divorce in December many years ago, and even now, we continue to feel the pressure of blended family dynamics. It seems like our family struggles get put under a spotlight and are compounded at this time of year. Emotions can run high and our expectations for a great Christmas are sometimes unattainable.

But coming back to those words in Genesis 1:2, I have found renewed strength and peace, as I prepare myself for the month ahead:

‘The earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.’

As I read those words, I feel an influx of hope! I imagine the Spirit of God hovering over the waters and it helps calm my anxieties. It feels like a picture of this season for me, and for perhaps many others.

This year has felt unstructured, uncertain and ‘formless’ in some ways, and there’s a part of me that feels a little empty at the prospect of not seeing everyone I love at Christmas. But much like at the beginning of Genesis, this environment creates space for the Spirit of God to hover and move in our midst.

It also leads me to the words of Jesus in John 8:12:

‘Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

So, if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed at the thought of Christmas this year. Whether it’s typically a difficult time of year, or 2020 is posing some new challenges. When ‘all-things-Christmas’ attempt to take over, let’s think on the truth in these passages and find that renewed strength and hope:

  • The Spirit of God was hovering over the waters in expectation, waiting for God to reveal his purposes – and how we can be encouraged that the same Spirit is actively present in our lives today. (Genesis 1)
  • How God spoke and there was light – and that as we continue to journey through the unknown, and experience a potentially different Christmas – God is still speaking light around us, and that light cannot be extinguished. (John 8)
  • That Jesus is the light of the world! Our Emmanuel … He is God with us. (John 1)

Have a blessed Christmas!

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