Posted: Wednesday, December 20, 2017. 1:07 p.m. CST.
REJOICE, BELIZE: GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST! (A Christmas Reflection in 2017)
By Karl Burke, M.A.: Dear Belizean Friends and Friends of Belize, Christmas is a time of promises, dreams, and expectations—lots of them from your past and mine. Contrast that with our adult nation and world around us: promises broken, dreams dashed, and expectations too big to fulfill. Some people feel especially alone during this Christmas season—maybe even abandoned by God and others.
The Christmas readings from the Holy Bible offer us a way to embrace Christmas and its authentic promises. Christmas is the day to look beyond the cracks and missing pieces in our lives and to see the great hope of this Christmas celebration. Indeed, Christmas is the Day of Hope when the world was changed! People who have hope live differently. They live with the cracks and the missing pieces. They see the reality of the “Glory to God in the highest!”
There are three lines from the Holy Bible’s Christmas readings that just jump out to offer us hope. First, from Isaiah, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” God has shown us light in the midst of darkness, and He calls us to be part of the light. Second, “Emmanuel He shall be called.” Emmanuel—a name which means ‘God is with His people’. God calls us to something specific: that we must take care of each other in the name of the Lord—that we must bond with one another like never before to care for one another because God is indeed with His people. And, lastly, “Rejoice in the Lord!” Yes! Our God has married us, if you will. Hence, we rejoice!
What do we choose to remember this year: the promises broken, dreams dashed, and expectations too big to fulfill, or do we recognize the good, life-giving, and hopeful moments? Do we recognize that we have come through so much, and that we are called to grow in our understanding of where God is in our lives, our nation, and our world? Can hope be our reason to rejoice today because God has not abandoned us? In fact, God is with us more intensely, perhaps, than ever before!
It is about seeing the whole—not just the promises broken, dreams dashed, and expectations too big to fulfill. It is about the “Glory to God in the highest!”—not the cracks and pieces in our lives—those will always be there—but what is important is that we are together. We are linked together forever as a human family and as Belizean Friends and Friends of Belize, and as Citizens of the World. That is our story this Christmas Day. We are linked together forever because “The Word has become flesh and lives among us.”—the marriage of Heaven and Earth—the sacred and the secular. Yes! “The people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light.”—a bright light which we call ‘Emmanuel, God is with His people.’
In conclusion, dear Belizean Friends and Friends of Belize, as human beings and as citizens and residents of “the Jewel,” our beloved homeland by the Caribbean Sea, and elsewhere who struggle to come to terms with the sacred and the secular within and without us, we come together around the manger and our Christmas tree this year with great pride, deep joy, and abundant hope as we boldly announce to a nation and world too often overcome by darkness and fear—promises broken, dreams dashed, and expectations too big to fulfill—yes, indeed, we do boldly proclaim to our fellow Belizean Friends and Friends of Belize as well as to our world: “Take a look at the Great Light! God is with His people!” Yes, indeed, “REJOICE, BELIZE: GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST!”
This article was written by Karl Burke M.A.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.
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