ALTHOUGH they might be hurting and fearful themselves, Christians must be bearers of joy to the world this year, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Most Revd Michael Curry, said in his Christmas message.
While it could be very difficult, particularly for those in mourning, to proclaim joy, it was essential work for Christians: he quoted the carol “Joy to the world”.
In his video message, he said: “While we may not feel joyful this year, as the pandemic of disease continues to bring sickness and death, when fear and mistrust — a darkness — threaten to overcome the light, we, as followers of Jesus Christ, must bear joy to this aching world. We must shine light into the darkness.”
Though much had changed this year, God’s call remained the same: “Feed those who are hungry; welcome the stranger; clothe those who are naked; heal those who are sick; visit the prisoner. Love God. Love your neighbour. Sing joy into this old world. Prepare him room.”
Bishop Curry, who lives in North Carolina, will not be visiting Washington National Cathedral — his episcopal seat — as he normally does in the run-up to Christmas, but will be staying at home.
He told The Washington Post that he had been wrestling with what to write in Christmas cards this year. His Christmas message was inspired by the message from St John’s Gospel that “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it,” he said.
“We don’t pretend the darkness isn’t real. People are dead, people are sick, we are fragmented and polarised. But the lightness shines in the darkness. That is a message of Christmas. The truth of Christmas may be more profoundly true for us because everything else has been stripped away. We are not helpless. We are not alone. There’s a God that cares enough to come into this world.”