Here we are - Christmas 2016.

This can be listened to here

What is Christmas
at the end of such a year?
Such a year!
endless complicated war in Syria
and the war on ISIS
Hidden wars in Yemen and South Sudan
the dying goes on
and with that the refugees
millions and millions of refugees
looking for hope.
What do we do with so many?
how do we welcome them
care for them
embrace them as our own?
Yet, here we are
a small gathering of hope in the gloom.

The violence goes on
terrorist acts – an easy term
mass shootings
The death goes on
the world seems to have gone mad
we appear to have lost our way
surrendering what we once held dear.
violent storms
earthquakes shuddering our certainty
the earth seems to be groaning in despair
Yet, here we are
a small gathering of hope in the gloom.

And here in this land
Land of promise and opportunity
so many seem to have been left behind
the cost of our comfort laid bare
so many children in poverty
appalling homelessness
Here we are surrounded
families struggling
            with poverty
            with violence
            with hopelessness
Yet, here we are
a small gathering of hope in the gloom.

Hope might seem a distant dream
but we gather in the name of hope
despite all the evidence
we dare to hope
found in a baby
born 2,000 years ago
in a cave
among the animals
laid in the food trough
His parents were not powerful
            not wealthy
            not notable in any way
they would have been lost if not
            for this baby
He was a refugee
dependant on the welcome of others
            dependant on their generosity
            their care
of others not his people
He grew up among the poor
            as one of the poor
            in a small community
            in the hills of a backwater
calling a cave his home
He is our hope

While Rome raised armies
and crucified those who stood in their way
he healed hopelessness
and restored the shunned to their communities
he gave hope
While Herod and the High Priests
The wealthy of Jerusalem
accumulated power and wealth
leaving so many impoverished
He ate with the outcast
honoured the widow
blessed the poor
embraced the sinner
He restored community
he was hope

He is hope
He is God’s first thought
he is the Eternal Word
            and one of us
declaring honour on our humanity
declaring God’s embrace for all.
He is God’s pre-emptive strike
living God’s utter, profound, deep love
of you
of me
of all
all who struggle
all who are lost in the way of greed
            or violence
            or despair
all who are lost in self obsession
            and the need for more
He is our hope
So we gather
a small gathering in the gloom
daring to hope
gathering in hope
becoming hope
the hope made real in this birth.


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