In the birth of Jesus, hope dawned more brightly than anyone had ever seen before. This one life would bring everlasting hope and peace to anyone who would receive it. It would change the course of history. It is the reason this ancient Church stands.
In the movie Frozen II, but there is a moment when exasperated Anna says to her anxious sister Elsa, ‘When will you see yourself as I see you?’ In the life of Jesus we are truly able to see ourselves as God sees us: in more desperate need of saving than we realised and yet, wondrously, more loved than we could ever imagine.
This eternal reality can fill us with hope even when we feel hopeless, not a hope based on resolving all our problems, nor proportional to how much we believe in God, but finding out how much God believes in us. We all need someone to believe in us. We don’t need to find hope in ourselves, God’s hope is more than enough.
It is the scarcity of something that most often destroys hope and creates fear: the scarcity of money, of friends, of love, of forgiveness, of truth and of justice. And ultimately a scarcity of something to hope for and someone to place our hope in.
Jesus comes to meet our scarcity with his abundance. St John announces, Jesus came ‘full of grace and truth’. Not as a remote spiritual force or like some cosmic dust, as in Philip Pulman’s stunning trilogy. God in person reveals himself to us in all his fullness, and invites us to receive the truth about who we are, and why our world is broken as well as beautiful, but also to receive his grace which alone can draw us into God’s presence and peace.
Here is the only source of unshakable hope.
BISHOP PAUL (Carol Service Reflection)