Growing in Faith

The true light born among us

Assembly National Consultant Rev. Lindsay Cullen shares a Christmas message for the Growing in Faith Circle.

“Give the LORD no rest until he completes his work,
until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth.
The LORD has sworn to Jerusalem by his own strength:
“I will never again hand you over to your enemies.
Never again will foreign warriors come
and take away your grain and new wine.
You raised the grain, and you will eat it,
praising the LORD.
Within the courtyards of the Temple,
you yourselves will drink the wine you have pressed.”

As I read the words of the Christmas lection from Isaiah 62, I couldn’t help but to hear echoes of the nationalistic sentiments of political leaders here in Australia and further abroad, “Make America great again!”, “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come”, you know the kind of thing…

And perhaps in some interpretations, the promise of Messiah was narrowly and nationalistically understood, but there was also a broader and more universal reading of the promise of the coming of the Lord.

It was this broader sense of the coming salvation which was reflected in Jesus’ life and teaching, and in the growing theological imaginations of the New Testament writers.

The Psalmist (Ps 96) had seen the coming of the Lord, not only as an opportunity for rejoicing by all people, but even an opportunity to “let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Let the sea and everything in it shout [God’s] praise! Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest sing for joy”.

The writer of John’s gospel (1: 1 – 14) casts the coming of God’s promised one in even more cosmic terms: “The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone… The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognise him… the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.”

So as I think about how to grow my faith at this Christmas time, I am constantly challenged to ask myself, “How am I constricting the vision of what God’s faithfulness to all people really means?”

“How am I limiting the blessing of God to myself or those I care about, rather than being a channel of blessing to the whole creation?”

“How can I proclaim with my words and my actions, the good news that the light of creation itself has become human, and makes a home among us?”

Have a blessed, thought-provoking, love-filled Christmas and a new year of growth in your faith and your service. In the name of the Christ, Amen.