Community view: Take time to reflect on world in turmoil

PUBLISHED: 08:00 22 December 2018 | UPDATED: 11:28 24 December 2018

The Venerable Elwin Cockett, Archdeacon of West Ham

The Venerable Elwin Cockett, Archdeacon of West Ham

Elwin Cockett

The world is in turmoil, those in charge are struggling to keep on top of things, and the rest of us are feeling hard-done-by. What better time could there be to remember what Christmas is all about?

The Venerable Elwin Cockett, Archdeacon of West HamThe Venerable Elwin Cockett, Archdeacon of West Ham

2018 is coming to a very bumpy end.

In the UK, Brexit is dividing friends and families alike, and we still do not know what is happening.

In the US, President Trump is proving equally divisive and is either making America great again (although not South or Central America, presumably) or appealing to the worst instincts of the Far Right, depending on where you stand.

And elsewhere, France is erupting, foreign leaders go on killing opponents with impunity, and ordinary people go on dying in wars in far-off places as they always have done.

As I have been reminded by Robert Banks’ excellent book, An Irrational Hatred of Everything, football throws up the same challenges on a smaller scale and sometimes, maybe, helps us to handle the bigger ones. West Ham fans have been through it all in recent years, including losing a much-loved home and a lot of friends in the process. And yet most of us find a bit of light in the darkness, and we still love our team, however tortuous our relationship with it.

The world in which Jesus Christ was born was no less dangerous than our world now. His parents lived in a country occupied by a foreign power, and had to seek refuge in Egypt when their child’s life was threatened by a local king. Despite all the challenges, Jesus would go on to herald a different kind of kingdom, one that he called the Kingdom of God, with values that would bring light and hope to the lives of millions.

No wonder his followers called him “the Light of the World”.

There’s an old saying that it only takes one small candle to drive out darkness. However dark your world seems to be this Christmas, my prayer for you is that you will allow light into your life and reflect that light to the people around you, so that you and they may have a truly Happy Christmas.

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