A Merry Christmas to everyone reading this in 2017. What a year! It’s been a year of major upheaval for my family (and for many of yours too) but as the year draws to a close I have much to give thanks to God for. I feel truly and deeply blessed to have taken up this ministry among you all and I am excited by what the New Year promises.
As Christians we believe that about 2000 years ago the world was changed forever by the birth of a baby boy, who grew to be the man Jesus of Nazareth. There is no credible, historical debate about this fact. There is also no doubt that what Christians believed about Jesus changed the face of the earth in subsequent years and has led to an astonishing one third of the world’s population, ~3,000,000,000, now proclaiming this Jesus as Lord and God.
And yet in our own country we find ourselves in the minority and pushed to the margins in the minds of policy-makers and the public in general. Most people in our own society don’t believe in God (or that he matters), let alone that Jesus was (and is) this God.
So how can we deal with this apparent contradiction – the hope that we share as Christians versus the stark disbelief of those around us? I believe the answer lies in not seeing it as a contradiction but a solution.
The truth is that there have always been more people who did not believe in Jesus as God; maybe there always will be. There have always been people who saw no need for God. But this has never deterred Christians from continuing to proclaim the Good News that, God is indeed real and He loves us so much that He has not left us to live without hope for something better than the confusion and chaos of humanity as many experience it.
We read in John 1:9-14 (TNIV) . . . 9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only [Son], who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus is still the most amazing man who ever lived – by any measure. And I am filled with hope that as each person finds the truth in this statement; lives and communities will be transformed into beacons of light, sources of life and demonstrations of love.
God bless, Ian.