20 December 2021

Christmas Reflections 2021

Dear Friends,

This year, the Covid-19 pandemic has continued to make its impact of loss and hopelessness across the world. Everyone has been affected in some way, and it has certainly been a challenge. But the world is slowly coming back to a life of transformation and freedom. Evidence of answered prayer is all around us: successful vaccinations, recovering bodies, minds and hearts, the sensible easing of lockdowns… And we are grateful to God for it all!

Earlier this year, we were blessed to take a few days away from our home in the heart of London to the British countryside. If you’ve ever lived in a bustling city, you will know how refreshing it is to escape to space of quiet and calm!

As I was walking one evening, my heart and mind became burdened with deep concern for our world when a sudden sound came from the sky. Now, I still can’t be sure of what the sound was, but it forced me to halt my thoughts and fix my eyes on the heavens. Overwhelmed by the beautiful twinkling stars in the night sky, I was aware of God’s presence surrounding me. In that moment, each star amazed me, but there was one that appeared to be twinkling more brightly than the others.

My mind went to what Scripture tells us of the night that Jesus was born. The Star of Bethlehem is introduced very simply in the gospel of Matthew, but the light of this star has such a spiritual significance in the Christmas story. As we anticipate the celebration of Christmas 2021, I want to tell you that the message of this Star needs to saturate your heart like never before!

The star was the source of incredible light and peace, and, as we are told in Matthew 2:10, when the wise men saw the star, they were overjoyed! These men followed the star to Bethlehem for one purpose only – to worship the newborn King! The star of Bethlehem drew attention to Jesus, it fixed their eyes on what was most important in that moment and helped them people to see the way they should go.

God used the star to direct them towards a Saviour who was to deliver what this broken world had been searching for: light, hope, joy, love, peace and salvation. God empowered his own creation – the very stars that shine in the sky! – to restore itself with all of these things. Today, the need for our world to hear this message of transformation is great: don’t we just long for the world to embrace the truth that Jesus is the Light of the World?

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining, it is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining, until he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

The Star of Bethlehem is history, but we can take its place. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 5:14 that we are the light of this world. Quite simply, the star of Bethlehem pointed people to Jesus and so should we! He needs us – his shining stars of Africa, of the Americas and the Caribbean, of Europe, of South Asia, of the South Pacific and East Asia – to lead people to the Saviour of the world.

I hope that this Christmas is the most joyous celebration for you and yours yet. May the boundless love of Christ Jesus surround you, his grace filling your home and life with blessings as you experience something of the miracle and majesty of the Bethlehem morning. May you, like the star of Bethlehem, radiate God’s message of light, hope and salvation to all you meet!

Merry Christmas to you all.

Rosalie Peddle
World President of Women's Ministries

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