Boris Johnson Jeremy Corbyn election

Coping with the Politics of Despair

The waiting is almost over.
It’s time for change.
We’ve been walking around in the dark for too long.
Our time in the wilderness is almost over.
Our leaders have been proud in their inmost thoughts.
People have gone hungry, with no-one to guide their way.
But the waiting is almost over.
The years of fighting are coming to an end.
A new light has dawned, a clear way out of the wilderness.

These are not words from a Brexit celebration party, but are a pastiche of words from a group of people who felt let down by the politics of their own day, over 2000 years ago. The words hint at where they found hope beyond the politics of despair around them. We too might feel like we really need something like that just now, either because we didn’t get the outcome we voted for or our chosen candidate was not all that we would hope for.

The words come from the Jewish people oppressed and sometimes taken away by foreign powers around them. They are looking for God to intervene: “O that God would rend the heavens and come down”. God did intervene for them by sending his Son, whose birth changed everything and which we will celebrate at Christmas. Like them, we too wait for Christ to come, for his intervention in the world we find ourselves in today. But like the Jewish people then, it involves waiting and the Advent season we are in is a time to reflect on that waiting.

Nativity scene with Jesus and family with angels

It helps to think of the world into which they wanted God to intervene. A Christmas card theology would have us think that Jesus was born into a “Nativity Play” type world. But that’s not true. Instead he was born into a brutal world, as seen in ruthless rulers such as Herod who not only infamously had all under 2-year old boys around Bethlehem killed, but also had executed 2 of his sons when they became too close as rivals and his favourite wife when her political allegiance became questionable.

Yet the message of Jesus made a deep mark in that world, both his words and his life. This is encouraging when we think of situations that bring us our own degree of despair, not only in our own country but around the world today.

Have a blesséd Advent everyone!

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An Adult Education Specialist with extensive experience in designing interactive, engaging training in a wide variety of topics, or enhancing existing training to be more so too, working in both classroom and digital contexts.

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