Christmas Day Devotion 2017
Methodist Liaison Office in Jerusalem
25 December 2017
Song: “Light a Candle in a Darkened Place” by Care Stainsby, verses 1 & 6
Light a candle in a darkened place,
In its flame see hope on every face,
Christ our Savior will be born,
Heralding a brand new dawn.
So let it burn.
Do not fear, today I bring good cheer,
Jesus Christ, the Saviour now is here,
God has lit his flame of love,
Through his Son from Heaven above.
So let it burn.
John 1 1-14
John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
Light in the Darkness
Sometime in Bethlehem town, the place of Jesus’ birth, it is difficult to keep alive the sense of hope. Surrounded by the separation barrier, “The Wall,” with night time arrests of young people by the Israeli Army almost every night, checkpoints controlling who goes where and when, the outward signs of the continuing occupation, can wear you down. It has gone on for so long, sometimes it seems that it will never end. Bethlehem can be a darkened place that needs candles of hope lit to burn brightly.
Christmas though brings something new each year. Manger square is packed. The bands play, people come from all over the world to spend Christmas in the very place where the birth really happened. Jesus being born here was God giving hope to a place and a time that also seemed pretty hopeless. But that birth gives hope to every age and every time. God has lit God’s flame of love and though history has so often attempted to blot it out, that flame of love burns on. Today it burns on.
Of course, not everyone can come to Bethlehem. The fears and frustrations of this town cannot be felt by everyone. But wherever we are, we need the hope that God sustains. God’s Kingdom is coming – Jesus is a herald of it and that is at the heart of the Good News of which the angels sang here on Christmas night.
Jesus is born, born anew in every heart that hears the message of that Good News. Yes! as the Hymn says, “God has lit his flame of love, through his Son from Heaven above. So let it burn.”
Will you let it burn in your heart this Christmas Day?
Light the Christ Candle
Let us pray,
Lord give new hope to us this Christmas. We need hope of better times here in Bethlehem. We need your hope all over the world. So may your light of love truly shine out from every one of us this Christmas. Amen.
Written by Rev. John Howard, Methodist Liaison in Palestine and Israel, serving a Mission Partner through the Methodist Church in the U.K.
Song: “Light a Candle in a Darkened Place” words and music by Clare Stainsby, used with permission.
Picture credit: a packed Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve 2016. Taken by Rev. John Howard.
Devotions provided by the Methodist Liaison office in Jerusalem, through the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church, The Methodist Church of Great Britain, and the World Methodist Council of Churches.