Lights of the season

If we didn’t have Christmas with the lights and the music and the calls for peace on earth. Would we need to create something like it – something that would give hope to the world – something that would offer hope to the world – something might remind people to be kind and generous.

.I stumbled across this picture this week. You may recognize the imagery if you have seen the movie UP. It is a movie with two movies inside it – the first 10 minutes or so has a short story in it and frankly, if you’re not moved by it then I wonder if you have a hard heart.

The music and imagery of the balloons rising with Ellie’s house below. It’s a wonderful moment!

It is a story of hope and love and commitment – and of new relationships. Stories of hope make us smile, and give us a renewed sense of optimism and I think that is what Christmas does. It renews our hope. It is at this time of year that kindness seems to get a lift.

Of course, there is a reason that we refer to people who don’t like Christmas as Scrooge or The Grinch. Yes, some people just live to make others miserable. Selfishness not generousity is their motto. They love to make the little child cry, to splash the pedestrian while driving by and simply bring hurt to those who come near them.

But that’s not what we really want for our world, is it?

Of course, unless you’ve been fooled we will never find the solution to a hopeless and dark world in just one Hallmark movie, or one political party, or one religious practice. What we need is the one whom God called into our world to come and begin to bring peace even though the world answered with violence. Yes, we need more than a momentary philosophy, more than just a change of power.

That is what Isaiah 6 points towards. From Isaiah 9;

The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
    and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
    as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
    when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
    you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
    the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
    and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
    will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.

This one, who will be a new shoot, rising up out of an old stump, will renew the work of redemption and show a new definition of power and justice. He will be humble and gentle but also will bear the government of mankind on His shoulders. A mystery and a promise.

And we know about promises – they are held until they are fulfilled.

Therefore we say together – Maranatha.

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