My favourite carol is ‘O Holy Night’. If either Silvie Paladino or Denis Walter sing it at Carols by Candlelight, I have no need to watch any more. There is a line in that song that says ‘a weary world rejoices’, referring to the world into which Jesus came. It was a world weary of injustice, oppression, violence and despair. It has proved a timeless line, as our present national and global situation could be described as weary. The pandemic has left many weary and uncertain. Too many nations are on political and physical edges, the recent COP26 conference showed just how far we are from being united in action on a response to climate change, and slavery and oppression robs millions of people of their lives and freedom. The divisions in our society seem more obvious than previously. Hatred and anger are often unashamedly on display. How we all wish things were different.
Two-thousand years ago, in a small stable, there was joy because of the birth of a child. But this was no ordinary child. He was the Saviour, the Son of God, the Messiah. Apart from Joseph and Mary and a few despised shepherds, no one in Bethlehem cared. But 30 years later when Jesus began explaining that he was offering an alternative to the selfish and despairing way so many were living, lives started to change. Joy, peace, hope and love was on offer. A weary world was beginning to rejoice.
This Christmas season is an ideal time to think once again of the gift of the Holy Child whose life has profoundly changed world history. For those who have embraced the life He offers, joy does bubble up from within. How I pray that our present weary world would experiences the joy shared by the shepherds and then later by the Wise Men and then His small band of disciples and eventually the two billion who would claim to follow Him in the present day.
May goodwill and joy be yours this season as you reflect upon the child who once lay in a manger and who 33 years later hung upon a cross. He was the most precious gift ever to be given.
I cannot conclude this last Chaplain’s Corner without thanking my colleague and friend Janine, who, after 16 years of wonderful ministry in the Junior Schools, will commence a new ministry at Camberwell Grammar School. Personally, I have loved working with you, and professionally, your impact has been profound within the Carey community – across students, staff and parents alike. We will all miss you and wish you God’s richest blessing in the next phase of your ministry.
Enjoy your break everyone.
Grace and peace.
Senior School Chaplain