Whenever I am in need for some inspiration I often think to myself these words from Luke, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord”. It doesn’t matter if it is in the middle of a hot summer day or a dreary rainstorm in February. I think these words to myself and I feel my spirit lifted and transformed. There are of course many passages from the Bible that can and do inspire me on a regular basis, but it is these words in particular from the Lukan nativity story move me in a way that few others do. I will briefly relate to you why I think this passage makes such an impression on me, but I would say the center of it all is the word ‘Saviour’.
The sentence opens with the wonderful advice, “Don’t be afraid”. Are you worried? Are you stressed about how close Christmas is and not all you need to get done is done? Are you overwhelmed with the world? As people of faith God has the answer for us - don’t be afraid. We ask why not and God says’, “Because I am bringing you good news of great joy for everybody and that means you as well”. In fact God says, “You don’t even need to wait. I am bringing the good news to you this day, this very day”! We ask, “What is it, what is the good news you are bringing us”? God answers, “I am bringing you a Saviour”. Every time I hear the word ‘Saviour’, used in this sentence from Luke I get emotional. The whole sentence is one of the most powerful ever written in any language, but for me it is the word ‘Saviour’ that gives life meaning and a vision of a world full of true hope. The word ‘Saviour’ literally means ‘saver of souls’, and Jesus does this for us in more ways than we can ask or imagine.
Every Christmas hope is reborn once again. Every Christmas God is reborn among us as an infant child, innocent, vulnerable and full of promise. At Christmas Jesus is our Saviour not just because he forgives us in all ways, though he surely does that, but because of his assurance that God guides us and loves us and acts to make the world a better place through us. Jesus would grow up to teach us that hope is real, that peace is achievable, that joy is our birthright and that love is the center of life and the force that moves humanity toward all that is great. Christmas is here. Let us celebrate the birth of Jesus, the birth of our Saviour, the birth of hope, peace, joy and love on earth.
I sincerely hope that you and those you love have a very Merry Christmas and that you can make the Saint John family a part of your Christmas celebrations again this year. We once again have a number of Holy Christmas Services:
Lessons and Carols Service - Sunday, December 18 at 10:00AM
Family Christmas Eve Service - Saturday, December 24 at 5:00PM
Christmas Eve Midnight Service – Saturday, December 24 at 11:00PM
May you all have a blessed Advent and a very Merry Christmas.
The Reverend Patrick Blaney