Opinion: Crisis offers hope to those in despair

PUBLISHED: 08:30 21 December 2019

West Ham Archdeacon Elwin Cockett gives his Christmas prayer to Recorder readers.

West Ham Archdeacon Elwin Cockett gives his Christmas prayer to Recorder readers.

Elwin Cockett

It’s Christmas – the season of peace and goodwill – except that, what with the election and everything else, both peace and goodwill have been in short supply this year. But there’s still time to make a difference.

There wasn't a lot of peace and goodwill around when Jesus was born, either.

His country was under enemy occupation, and his family soon had to become refugees to escape for their lives. Children were dying in Bethlehem then, just as children are dying in Syria today, crime was rife - you couldn't even expect to walk from Jerusalem to Jericho without getting mugged - and just about everyone was struggling to find hope in the darkness.

Christmas tells us that it doesn't have to be like that. Jesus came to enable people to live life to the full. His followers included a man who had fought zealously against the Romans and one who had collaborated with them, along with both men and women, Africans and Europeans, married and not. What they had in common was far greater than the things that divided them. For them, the angels' words of peace had come true through the child born in the manger.

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The world's problems can feel very dark, but Christmas tells us that that's not the whole story. Just as a single, stuttering candle can bring light to a dark place, so acts of hope and generosity by people of goodwill can bring light that dispels darkness in others' lives.

In the 1960s, a few members of local churches in Newham decided to do something about the plight of homeless people in our capital city.

That project, initially called Crisis at Christmas, has grown over the years into Crisis, the amazing charity that will help thousands of homeless people this Christmas. Where people of goodwill are prepared to work together, amazing things can happen to bring hope and light into people's lives where once there was only despair.

This Christmas, my prayer for Recorder readers is for you to know what the Bible calls "the light of Christ", and that, filled with hope and goodwill, you may bring light and peace into the lives of those around you.

Happy Christmas!

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