The world into which Jesus came could in some sense be called dark. The Roman Empire was dominant. It was a harsh time – especially for those on the bottom of the social ladder. Compassion, care and empathy were not valued by Rome. Understandably, people felt weighed down by the pressures of life, almost powerless to bring about the change they would like but which did not seem possible. Whilst Rome was the dominant political power, the religious power within Judaism belong to those in leadership. The leaders had misinterpreted who God was and what he was like, and so when the people looked to their religious leaders for some comfort and encouragement, they found neither. The religious leaders were intoxicated with the power their system afforded them. Thus, neither the political nor the religious systems gave the people any hope.
Jesus entered that environment to bring a message of hope and love. He challenged the thinking and actions of the religious leaders who, rather than accepting they were wrong, constantly challenged him, and finally, in an attempt to silence him, placed him upon a cross.
In a few weeks, billions of people will celebrate the birth of Jesus. By any reckoning, Jesus Christ is a profoundly significant figure in history and the events of these past 2000 years reflect his impact. Even this school would not exist if it were not for the life of Jesus. He brought light into a world that was so often in darkness and despair. In three short years of ministry he transformed lives and gave hope, love and forgiveness. The presents we give and receive during Christmas are but symbols of the greatest of all gifts.
The night on which Jesus drew his first breath was the night love came to town. It was the night that God fully and unmistakably identified with humanity. It was the night that those sitting in ‘darkness saw a great light’. That light continues to shine and invites us to experience the joy, hope and love of that first Christmas so many years ago.
May God’s blessings be upon you and your family over this Christmas season.
Peace and joy,
Senior School Chaplain