Despite turmoil throughout the world – both at home and abroad – Rev Les Isaac entreats everyone – whatever their faith or lack of it – to not give up hope this Christmas
This year has got to be one of the worst for bloodshed for many decades – with so many disturbing scenes on television, articles in newspapers, and news reporting of bombings, killings and war. We have seen the senseless killings of many young people on the streets. Natural disasters around the world have caused great devastation to families and communities. The shooting of young children in their classrooms; schoolchildren witnessing the death of their teacher, and the televised beheading of Western journalists, show us the potential for depravity in human nature.
We are also living in a time of great uncertainty in the global marketplace. More and more young people are still living at home, because they cannot afford to buy a flat or a house; young couples are worried about childcare for their children, and there is an increasing number of young children, who are still without a place in a local school. There are many young people who aspire to go to university, but making this a reality is a challenge with the high cost of tuition fees.
All this, and I haven’t even mentioned the Ebola virus.
It’s depressing to take stock of all that is happening in the world today. It makes us ask the question: Is there hope?
In the Gospel of John, Chapter 14:1–4, Jesus said: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
He continues in verses 25–28: “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.”
It is a source of great confidence to us as Christians to know that Jesus loves us, and that one day He will redeem us fully from this corruptible world. He challenged us not to seek to escape from the trials and the difficulties of living in this world, but to look to Him who is the Author and Finisher of our faith, because it is in Him that we live and move and have our being. Again, we are reminded in Scripture of the fact that His grace is sufficient to keep us.
When we pray for our world and our communities, when we serve our world and our communities, when we love our world and our communities, we demonstrate to mankind, to society and to our community that there is hope.
I’m encouraged to know men and women who are serving, helping, caring and loving those who feel a sense of hopelessness. I’m encouraged to know that men and women are volunteering to go to West Africa to serve in the clinics to fight against the Ebola virus. I’m encouraged that thousands of people are volunteering in the rain and the cold through a long night to serve people as street pastors. I also remember the youth workers, who are volunteering to help young people all over the country.
In the words of the hymn writer, “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and His righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ Name. On Christ, the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
Jesus is the Hope of the world. Don’t give up on hope this Christmas.
Rev Les Isaac OBE is CEO of the Ascension Trust and a co-founder of Street Pastors. Visit www.streetpastors.co.uk for more details.