Christian message: Christmas is not a 'great escape' but a time to come together

Anglican Archbishop Dr Phillip Aspinall. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

Christmas is not a time to escape the realities of the world and look the other way but to shine a light on the tragedies of the world and embrace the new possibilities of 2017, that is the message put forth by Brisbane’s Catholic Archbishop Mark Coleridge and Anglican Archbishop Dr Phillip Aspinall for Christmas 2016.

The atrocities across the world and at home have shaken us to our core but the way we handle them is the way we are able to move forward, Archbishop Mark Coleridge says.

“It has been a very tough in many ways 2016 and the temptation is to think that Christmas is the great escape,” he said.

“But in fact the real Christmas doesn’t look away, it looks all those horrors right in the face and says there is bad news obviously but there is a good news that overwhelms all the bad news.

“Christmas is not about fake cheer for the cheerless or false joy for the joyless but it is about real hope for the hopeless.”

Anglican Archbishop Dr Phillip Aspinall said Christmas offered a time for new community.

“Christmas talks about a new possibility for human community where there is a sense of compassion and a sense of grace and mercy and forgiveness and people can actually reach out to one another and connect and be good and decent to one another,” he said.

“A new way to be that looks like light shining in the darkness, it is important for people to grasp it because fear and anxiety can take over and take control when there is much more to it than that.”

Brisbane Catholic Archbishop The Most Reverend Mark Coleridge:

This has been a very tough year not just close to home but around the word. We have had things like Dreamworld where the dream turned into nightmare but then we have seen the obscenities of Aleppo with freezing and starving orphans and then the massacre of Berlin and so on it goes.

It has been a very tough in many ways 2016 and the temptation is to think that Christmas is the great escape, a moment to look the other way, get together with family and friends and have a break, enjoy a few drinks, eat too much and watch a bit of cricket and look the other way but in fact the real Christmas doesn’t look away, the real Christmas looks all those horrors right in the face and says there is bad news obviously but there is a good news that overwhelms all the bad news.

It is the good news announced by the angels to the shepherds many many years ago, ‘Today a saviour has been born for you, it is Christ the Lord, and that same good news is proclaimed every Christmas to everybody for all the people, as the angel says.

If there is a saviour born for us, then it means there is a way out for all the orphans of the world, those freezing and starving kids in Aleppo are all of us.That there is a star that breaks through all the darkness and there is a hope that nothing can destroy and that is really the heart of Christmas, it is that real hope.

Christmas is not about fake cheer for the cheerless or false joy for the joyless but it is about real hope for the hopeless. The hope is that there is this good news in the baby born, the good news that overwhelms all the bad news and that is why we can still sing the great songs of joy, the music that never dies.

Brisbane Anglican Archbishop The Most Reverend Dr Phillip Aspinall:

2016, if you stop and think about what has happened, it has been a bit of a disturbing year in lots of ways.

The terror attacks earlier in the year in Brussels and Nice were very disturbing and the Brexit vote really surprised everybody, people are a bit aghast at the election in the United States and how divisive that was.

Even close to home in Queensland, the tragic deaths at Dreamworld and the murder of the bus driver in a Brisbane street and just the last week again, the assassination of the Russian ambassador in Turkey and the terrible events in Berlin, killing many people and maiming many others.

People are living with a sense of anxiety and they are asking themselves can we be safe, there is a sense of fear in a gloomy world.

The message of Christmas this year is more important than ever, the message of Christmas is about light shining in the darkness.Yes there is doom and gloom in the world and terrible things do happen and yet there is light shining through that, there is a sense of hope and a sense of joy.

Whenever a baby born there is a sense of a new beginning, of life being refreshed and renewed, a sense of new hope and this particular baby whose birth we celebrate at Christmas does that in spades, that life really became the turning point in human history and people look back to that birth and to the story of that life to give them the sense of peace when they feel anxious and to give them the sense of joy when life seems to be disintegrating and a sense of new possibility, that is what Christmas is really about.

The risk people face is to isolate themselves, to shut themselves away and to shut others out and to stop engaging out of fear but Christmas talks about a new possibility for human community where there is a sense of compassion and a sense of grace and mercy and forgiveness and people can actually reach out to one another and connect and be good and decent to one another. A new way to be that looks like light shining in the darkness, it is important for people to grasp it because fear and anxiety can take over and take control when there is much more to it than that.

Source:

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/christian-message-christmas-is-not-a-great-escape-but-a-time-to-come-together-20161224-gthm1t.html