Never doubt God’s saving presence

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As we celebrate the beginning of a new calendar year it’s an opportunity to make new commitments and establish a new time frame for fulfilling old promises which we never quite got around to keeping. During these weeks we are especially confronted with the tension between the old and the new.

As we celebrate the beginning of a new calendar year it’s an opportunity to make new commitments and establish a new time frame for fulfilling old promises which we never quite got around to keeping. During these weeks we are especially confronted with the tension between the old and the new.

We try to come to terms with our past and prepare for the future. For many reasons we might have been glad to say goodbye to the old year because of personal and family circumstances. Searching for a clean break we draw a line in the sand hoping this New Year will bring either a brighter future or provide at least closure in relation to our hurts and grievances. The season of Christmas highlights how God does not abandon his people to their old ways but will reach out to provide all men and women with a new future. As a consequence of the Eternal Word coming to dwell in our midst we are reassured of a guiding light leading us through the darkness.

Whatever events or actions have cast long shadows over our lives we’re challenged not to doubt God’s saving presence whether we’re torn apart and left devastated by the end of a relationship or friendship, or been left fearful, angry and frustrated by the loss of a job or lack of employment. Maybe we find ourselves struggling with the burden of sickness, having to cope with changes to our health or the health of a love one which affects our lifestyle or independence. We might be at sea trying to come to terms with the addictions and personal battles which cripple our family and friends or we’re confronted by the overwhelming darkness of grief, trying to piece our lives back together after the death of a loved one. None of us are immune from the pressures of life; nobody can escape forever the burden of being human as we contend with our limitations and failings. Yet all these too human experiences highlight our need of God, putting us in touch with our need to be saved.

In a stable no more than a cow shed a small child was born, an infant came into the world finding himself in circumstances far removed from all power and privilege. In the most unlikely settings of absolute poverty and powerlessness, God was announcing a new dawn for all men and women. Into the chaos of human existence the Word became flesh. From the moment of Jesus’ birth, God has walked with his people in a completely new way. As the only begotten Son of the God, Jesus has seen the Father face to face and been sent to reveal his presence. Jesus, from the moment of his birth, has been revealing to a broken and fragile world the saving face of God’s love and compassion. Gathering as God’s people we reaffirm our faith in Jesus as the light of all the nations who has been sent to guide us all through our struggles and help us to carry our burdens. Like all those open to God’s message of salvation we need the vision to recognise how Jesus is born into the most unlikely and strangest of circumstances.