The good news of the risen Christ means that Christians don't need to fear squaring up to whatever social, political or ecological challenges that may already exist or may soon arise. We are free to pour ourselves out in loving service of neighbour for the glory of God, entrusting ourselves to the God who raised Jesus from the dead. We can do the hard work of thinking through how best to love our neighbours in a rapidly changing world, where a complex variety of interconnected goods clamour for our attention in patterns both persistent and novel.
Why does the good news banish our fears? Or rather, why does it enable us to face them squarely and yet be undaunted, requiring no distraction, no promise of a silver bullet, no paralysing despair, no frantic scramble to save ourselves? In faith, hope and love, Jesus walked willingly into the valley of the shadow of death. We can follow him without being alone, without needing to vindicate ourselves, without needing any guarantees that the path will not be bumpy or difficult. Where he has gone, we follow.
I have finished a number of my recent posts suggesting that "It doesn't have to be this way". The possibility of another way is discovered as we walk in the footsteps of the one who carried his cross to Golgotha. And it begins with surprise, wonder and joy at the birth of a baby amongst beasts. Advent is a season in which Christians are to wait, to pray, to hope: it doesn't have to be this way.