I know that some of you are concerned about enjoying Christmas while there is so much suffering and injustice in the world. I think that these uncertain times highlight God’s great love in coming to be with us.
Christ’s birth is evidence that God can overcome evil.
God has not abandoned us. All is not lost. The angels may have sung “on a midnight clear” but down on earth it was chaos. Think of the parallels to today: dictators; oppressive laws; an uprooted population. Did you notice that Luke 2:2 specifically mentions the governor ruling Syria? Then less than two years after Christ’s birth there is a mass murder of all male infants in Israel. It was a time of terror, state-sponsored violence and incredible grief.
But that did not mean that God’s plan had been interrupted. Matthew 2:18 reminds us that God had warned of this massacre hundreds of years earlier through the prophet Jeremiah.
Don’t forget that God’s Old Covenant deliverer, Moses, was also born during a mass murder of Israelite babies (this time in Egypt). There were multiple plagues and the death of all firstborn Egyptian sons before the Israelites finally escaped.
Suffering, death and grief do not stop God’s plan from moving forward.
Did we think that evil would just give up and go away?
Jesus is not surprised by what is happening today. He specifically said, “in this world you will have trouble . . . ,” but then He added, “ . . . but cheer up for I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 RSV) The New International Version translates it as “you will have oppression.” Other translations use words like suffering, trials, and sorrows.
So I suggest, let’s do all we can in the world. But let’s also feel free to celebrate. Rejoice. That doesn’t make you hard-hearted or hypocritical. The Saviour has been born. We need Him. The world needs Him.
In the midst of chaos, may God comfort anxious hearts and surround us with the peace of His presence.
Merry Christmas to all of you.