Sunday, 27 January 2013

Light In The Darkness

Christmas gets knocked sometimes for having its roots in a pagan festival. That is really to miss the point though. The reason for the pagan festival was the winter solstice: the shortest day has passed, the longest nights are behind us. On December 25th this is not obvious, and everyone knows that the coldest weather is ahead, nevertheless from then on the nights get shorter and the days get longer.

This is the metaphor which Christianity takes over - not the paganism, but the hope. The meaning of Jesus' birth, at whatever season it actually occurred, is that God is dealing with the mess which is our world. It is going to take time and there are still hard times to come, but the light is brightening and the darkness is pulling back.

Two thousand years ago the superpower of the day dealt with its enemies by crucifying them: a long and agonising death displayed along the main roads, to discourage the others. As the 21st Century begins we have Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib - pick your own superpower abuse - but now it is hidden and shameful. Things really have changed.

Today, here in Caversham, it's a bright sunny day; still cold, still windy, still wet - not Spring by any means - but a sign that Spring is on its way. There is life, there is hope, every breath is a gift from God. And when it gets dark again, we can always light a candle; not just for ourselves but to place in a window so that others may see a light in their darkness.

Two thousand years on and there's still so much needs doing ... someone has to make a difference, why not us?

(Click the link for YouTube to see the lyrics)