Culture At Large

Christmas hope for a hurting world

Jes Kast

This is the final installment in Advent All Around, a Think Christian series that sees reflections of Advent in the culture at large.

This Christmas I’m thinking of all those around the world who are in vulnerable positions and are calling on the hope of Christ to sustain them. Jesus said that blessings are upon the meek, the poor and those who mourn. I believe Jesus is calling us to be a blessing today to the same people.

I’m thinking of people who have been victims of gun violence at Arapahoe High School in Colorado, the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook elementary shooting in Connecticut and the shooting at a medical center in Nevada. I am also thinking of communities where gun violence is common, but the shootings are unpublicized because the neighborhoods are deemed forsaken or economically depressed. I find myself praying, “Christ have mercy on Your children whom You have created.” For God so loved the world…

I’m thinking of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in Uganda who could be criminalized for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in light of new legislation that was passed. On Christmas we celebrate the in-breaking of God as “one of us.” How far are we willing to see this “one of us” extended? I find myself praying, “Christ have mercy on Your children whom you have created.” For God so loved the world…

I am thinking of the city I call home, New York City, and the public conversations of the increase in homelessness and the rise of poverty. Some estimates suggest that there are more children of God homeless now than in the 1930s. I find myself praying, “Christ have mercy on Your children whom you have created.” For God so loved the world…

On Christmas we celebrate the in-breaking of God as “one of us.” How far are we willing to see this “one of us” extended?

This Christmas I am thinking of words from the Belhar Confession: “God, in a world full of injustice and enmity, is in a special way the God of the destitute, the poor and the wronged.” When I was ordained I vowed that this confession would guide my ministry. These words are just as pertinent on this Christmas day as they were on the day of my ordination. For God so loved the world…

God took on flesh and became human because God so loved the world. In Christ all things are reconciled and hold together. The destitute, the poor and the wronged are not alone but are held in the hands of an ever-loving and holy God. And this is the God we see in Jesus.

Jesus came to reconcile divisions, right the wrongs and provide mercy to our aching hearts. Jesus knows us and loves us and cries with us, in every Arapahoe and Sandy Hook and Uganda and more, wherever the vulnerable are being mistreated.

Our hope in a new world is not built on our decaying systems. Our hope in a new world is built on the work of God that we see in Jesus. We can have hope that tears will be dried because of Jesus. We can have hope that weapons will be turned into plowshares because of Jesus. Christmas is a season that can renew our hope for the world. For God so loved the world…

Topics: Culture At Large, Theology & The Church, Christmas & Easter