Christmas in 2023 sees the world more divided than ever. We are also more anxious, lonely and afraid.
I think the reasons for this are complicated; the pandemic hangover, financial insecurity, not to mention wars in Europe and the Middle East.
Layer on top of that the fact that the old certainties seem to be slipping away. At a local level society is rapidly changing. Simultaneously, authoritarian regimes are trying to exploit those changes.
It all paints a pretty bleak festive picture.
Listen this Christmas
However, I think Christmas offers a ray of hope. As a Christian I believe Jesus shows us a better future. He said if you look and listen, you can see and hear a better world calling you.
The world he described is one of loving compassion. In my lifetime I’ve learned that if we embrace that idea, the world changes too. The power to change the world is in our hands. No wonder the authorities thought Jesus to be so radical.
Christmas hope is all around
I see the world Jesus talked about every day. I see it in those working for peace and suffering for it. I see it in teachers who give their all so students can thrive. I see it in the love shared around my Foundation.
The absolutely brilliant thing about Jesus was that he didn’t keep his message of loving compassion to himself. He shared it with everyone, then he told them to go out and share it with the world.
An endless succession of followers over the ages have shared that message. True, many of those who claim to be his followers have abused that message for their own gain, but the message is still there loud and clear for those who want to listen.
So at Christmas I hope people hear Jesus’ message of love and hope. What’s more, I pray they find the courage to live it out in their lives beyond the festive season.
God Bless and Merry Christmas to you all!