Let the light shine

“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” Isaiah 9:2

There is nothing like an Australian Christmas season to make a Canadian feel like a fish out of water. Seafood on the barbeque. Short sleeves and shorts are the predominant attire. Pavlova instead of plum pudding. Sunlight until 9pm. A five-day cricket match that starts on Boxing Day. Our first Christmas here in Australia we served lunch at a couple of Salvo locations and after went straight to the beach for a picnic! Initially this change of scenery and climate confused us, but quickly transformed into yet another pleasure of doing life in the sunburnt country.

In contrast to our lives here, Christmas in Canada is a far different proposition. Caroling in the snow. Driving in the snow. Walking in the snow. It’s beautiful, but a different experience. In the northern hemisphere at Christmas time, fires are used to keep us warm and candlelight pierces the darkness that descends in the early evening. This light keeps us warm and illuminates our path when we need it. But for some, they are constantly walking in darkness no matter the season.

The good news is that people need not walk in darkness anymore. The redeeming and precious love of Jesus has come into the world offering hope, joy and love – a strong and illuminating light. When people are encouraged to stop and contemplate the true meaning of this season, there is an overwhelming transformation that takes place. It is our honour as Salvos to live, love and fight alongside others to bring this light into their lives. May Christmas 2017 be a refreshing reminder for you to share the good news of great joy and bring light in the midst of the darkness.

Last week the Salvos marked the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. The Global Slavery Index estimates that 45.8 million men, women and children are enslaved around the world, including in Australia where there are 4,300 people living in modern slavery. These figures are very troubling, and serve as another reminder for Salvos to live, love and fight to end modern slavery in Australia and be an example for the wider world. We have been advocates for victims and survivors of exploitation and slavery right from our inception as a movement and we will continue to advocate and bring light into the darkest of places. I’m proud of the work of our Freedom Partnership, which brings much needed focus to this critical issue in parliaments, businesses and communities right around the country.

Today, let us all accept the offer to walk in the light, for a new light has dawned. For people in places of hardship and injustice who feel like they are walking in darkness, walk with them so they can experience walking in this light. There is no greater experience to share than that of the love of Jesus.

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