We Need to Know (January 2017)

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I write this at a time of very mixed emotions, we are celebrating the joy of Christmas with many children from local schools – young faces glowing with the excitement about the birth of the baby Jesus.  Their enthusiasm is quite infectious.  Yet at the same time, the news is full of misery, gloom and horror.  Our TV screens are filled with apocalyptic scenes of destruction from Syria, and we feel powerless as we are told of children and their families dying in bombing attacks.  It is all so desperate and difficult to watch that we want to turn away, to turn over to something else, to ignore it all, or hope it will go away.   We find it too upsetting to hear about people suffering, people dying, it reminds us of our own frailty and awakens a natural fear of dying in all of us.  And when we are wanting to celebrate the birth of Christ, this is all too difficult to handle.

But it is important for us to be informed about world affairs.  We need to know about it.  It is important that we are clear about the terrible pain the world goes through.  Because that is why God sent his Son to be our Saviour.  That is why Jesus the Light of the World was sent to dwell among us.

It could be so easy to look at our desolate world and despair, and assume nothing is going to help, that it will always be like that.  But God breaks through all of it, he transforms even most barren place.  However bad things seem, God is able to make streams of water flow in the desert, he is able to open the eyes of those who are blind, he will make those who are deaf able to hear again.  He is able to help the lame not only to walk again, but to leap like a deer.  Anywhere that seemed to be completely parched and without any sign of life, God makes alive.  God even brings the dead to life.

However tempting it may be to think there is nothing we can do about these awful situations, that is not true.  Whatever else, we can pray!  And God answers prayer.  And if our hearts aches at the terrible pictures on our TV screens, God’s heart aches all the greater.  So in the midst of the dreadful news around us, let us turn to God, and remember that through Christ he has filled the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent empty away.   Let us keep ourselves informed about world affairs, so that we can keep praying.  So much of the world is used to living in darkness, that it does not recognise that Jesus is God with us, Immanuel.  We need to look at the gloom and mess and horror of this world, so that we can pray for God’s light and peace to shine in those darkest places.

Tina Upton