Let hope brighten up this dark Christmas

People pass a Christmas window display on Oxford Street, London

People pass a Christmas window display on Oxford Street, London. Prime Minister Boris Johnson cancelled Christmas for almost 18 million people across London and eastern and south-east England following warnings from scientists of the rapid spread of the new variant of coronavirus - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

This is not an easy time. It doesn’t feel much like a real holiday season.

If you feel pessimistic and despondent, you are not alone.

The past nine months were a time like almost none of us have seen before. We have had the highest per capita rate of Covid deaths in Europe.

To make matters worse - it’s dark.

So dark.

There’s much more bad news if we dare to think of it: refugee crises, racism, wars, nuclear weapons, persecuted ethnic minorities in many parts of the world, climate catastrophe and more.

And with all of this, now is a time - the most important time - for hope.

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It is a time for hope because it must be a time for hope. It is a time for hope because without hope, there can be no better tomorrow.

Now is a time to light candles and give gifts and drink festive drinks and dress up our homes with shiny baubles and coloured lights.

It is a time to dream of what can be.

Hope is the glimmer of possibility that enables us to start again. Hope is the spark of potential that enables us once again to dream great dreams. Hope is in the instant we catch a glimpse of what could be, amid the dread of what we fear will be.

Hope gives us just enough confidence in our own ability to take action- to trust just enough in humankind to join together in solidarity. Hope sends us toward a better vision of the future.

In the darkness, there are signs of hope.

There is great hope in the advent of effective Covid-19 vaccines.

What may kindle your own hope? A candle in the darkness can be enough. A new birth, a loving friend, a kind word or deed, the mutual aid that sprang up during the pandemic - these can all be part of the spark kindles a flame of hope in our hearts.

Let hope fill us even as the days get shorter and the cold lingers. Let it give us inspiration and energy to act for the world we want to create.

We cannot change the past. Our power is for the future. We can act today to create a better world for tomorrow. Driven by hope, we turn to the work of love and justice. We can not do it alone. Let us begin it together.

  • Andy Pakula is a minister for New Unity, a non-religious church in Newington Green.
New Unity minister Andy Pakula in the Newington Green church.

New Unity minister Andy Pakula in the Newington Green church. - Credit: Chris Redgrave/Historic England