Merry Christmas!

This blog entry is being written in advance because, if all goes according to plan, I’m spending Christmas Day mostly either in the kitchen or living room. The computer is not on my to-do list for 25th December this year.

But if you’re one of those whose circumstances means you’re at the computer on Christmas Day, may I send you special greetings? It may be that you’re at work and find you have a spare moment – someone has got to be on duty even if the work is not always busy. Thank you for keeping watch while others have a holiday.

It may be that you’re stuck on your own at a loose end. Maybe the TV isn’t attractive just now and the weather means that a walk outside is not so inviting. And, of course, pretty much everything is closed so that even shopkeepers, for instance, can spend time at home. Or it may be that you’re stuck en route somewhere in a station or airport where everyone wishes they were either on holiday or at home – certainly not where they are just now, which is going nowhere soon.

So while some of us are dozing off or playing games, some have had the joy of a church service as well as the excitement of Christmas presents, there are also some for whom Christmas Day is not a good day for them. It is not a time of celebration but one where despair looms larger than usual. The good news is that nothing lasts for ever – neither good days nor bad ones though we might get a long run of one or the other.

The one idea I want to hold on to this year is the phrase “darkness has not overcome”. It comes from the first chapter of St John’s gospel and is about God’s light of truth and grace appearing in Jesus Christ. People say that “Jesus is the light of the world”. There is darkness in the world, which can mean any or all of sadness, despair, confusion, evil and lies. The point here is that although there is darkness in every life, the darkness is not great enough to completely blot out God’s light.

I like to see Christmas lights even though many are put up by people who would not really describe themselves as a committed Christian. In fact I think that many people put lights up as an act of defiance against the long dark nights we get in this part of the world. The lights in the houses, on the roofs, on shop fronts, in gardens and so on, are often colourful and sometimes quirky and fun. But all of them seem to say to me that we will not let the darkness overcome us.

The Light will outshine the darkness.