Little shoots of hope from humble beginnings.
I don’t know about you, but it seems that this year, more than others, does seem to have been an ‘’annus horribillis’’, to quote the Queen, with a deeply divided Britain, and deeply divided world: a world broken with violence, oppression, poverty, homelessness and pain, the list could go on. On top of all this, looms the threat of climate change and the very real possibility of ruining the very earth that sustains us irreparably. And yet there are little shoots of hope and communities developing, which are springing up all over the world that call for a more compassionate & just world, shoots of hope with humble beginnings but gaining strength and voice all the time against powerful invested interests.
So, the Christmas story should also bring us hope for a better future as it’s set in a broken world ruled by an emperor, Herod, and powerful elite who oppressed the poor through the threat of violence and crippling taxes. And into this world comes the intervention of the Divine on earth, to bring about an alternative society build on Justice, Compassion & Peace – it is an intervention which comes in the form of a vulnerable baby from an ordinary family – from humble beginnings new shoots of hope come.
So, the Christmas story is not about escape from a doomed bad world to a perfect heavenly world, but about the transformation of this world. It is not about waiting for this transformation to happen through God’s miraculous powerful intervention from above but more about us participating with God in bringing about a world, based on Compassion, Justice and Peace. As St. Augustus said, “God without us will not: We without God cannot’’: We are part of the struggle to build this new world in the here and now. And as Greta Thunberg shows us, ‘Nobody is too small to make a difference.’ I recently watched a rally/demonstration outside the City Hall in Sheffield against climate warming and was moved when a year 9 student from High Storrs, who was clearly profoundly nervous about speaking publicly but still had the courage to address the crowd and express her views – from humble beginnings new shoots of hope come.
So, my hope is that you all have a Peaceful and Joyful Christmas, but also find in 2020 a place and space where you can be part of the struggle to build a more compassionate, just and peaceful world – from humble beginnings new shoots of hope come.
Merry Christmas & an inspirational 2020
Revd Iain Lothian