Christmas cry: ‘come Lord Jesus’

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On Sunday at my local church we sang the Noel Richards song, ‘Great is the darkness…come Lord Jesus…’. Whilst obviously not a Christmas carol, it struck me how apt it was for the season we are in. For most of us Christmas is a mixed time; of joy and celebration as well as sadness, and even grief. A few days ago I wrote about ‘Broken Britain’, and then the tragic events in Glasgow hit our screens. I read the heart-wrenching story of the Catholic Archbishop comforting a mother whose parents and daughter were killed in that accident…what an incredibly painful experience. I wondered, what message can we possibly share with those whose lives have been shattered in the blink of an eye? Sorrow and pain are very real for many as they gather this Christmas time without the loved ones they shared last Christmas with.

The first verse of the song reminds us of the context in which we live. We may not tangibly experience this level of darkness in our own community, or even nation, although many around our globe surely do:

‘Great is the darkness
That covers the earth
Oppression, injustice and pain
Nations are slipping
In hopeless despair
Though many have come in Your name
Watching while sanity dies
Touched by the madness and lies’

Of course, Christmas is also a time of great joy and hope. A 33 year journey lived a long time ago reminds us as Christians that our faith is based on the reality that God loved His creation so much (and felt the deep pain and injustice in it) that He intervened by sending His own son to be born amongst us; to live a life of sorrow and pain as well as great joy. This was a journey that took him to the cross, suffering the cruel death of a Roman execution. Jesus’ 33 year earthly journey did not end there, however. His resurrection gives us the hope to believe, trust and know that we too can share in that resurrection hope. Hope is the powerful transforming message that the church now bears. Verse 2 of the song exhorts the church to engage in God’s mission of saving love, which is the source for such hope:

‘May now Your church rise
With power and love
This glorious gospel proclaim
In every nation
Salvation will come
To those who believe in Your name
Help us bring light to this world
That we might speed Your return’

That saving love has already been set in motion. It is an unstoppable force that cannot be quenched, diminished or destroyed in any way. That saving power, manifest so humbly in the incarnation and demonstrated so powerfully in the resurrection, means that Christmas, like Easter (the two greatest events of human history marking the beginning and closing moments of Jesus’ life) is a season where our sorrow and despair can be transformed into hope-filled expectation of what is to come:

‘Great celebrations
On that final day
When out of the heavens You come
Darkness will vanish
All sorrow will end
And rulers will bow at Your throne
Our great commission complete
Then face to face we shall meet’

I trust and hope that amidst the mixed emotions you may be experiencing this Christmas time, your heartfelt cry will be one of longing for the presence of Jesus to be experienced in your own life, in the life of your family, and throughout your community, town, nation and in our world this very day!

So, let’s be reminded this Christmas time to invite Jesus to be present amongst us through the power of His Spirit, that our Christmas cry might be:

‘Come Lord Jesus, come Lord Jesus
Pour out Your spirit we pray
Come Lord Jesus, come Lord Jesus
Pour out Your spirit on us today’.

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