It is the Christmas season.
Christmas decorations are festooned all down Orchard Road. Shopping malls play Christmas songs over the PA system. Year-end parties are organized. Christmas sales are enticing shoppers to part with their end of year bonuses.
But the message of Christmas sometimes is forgotten.
It is the message of hope and reconciliation. Of a longing of a thousand generations waiting for the appearance of their redeemer, finally fulfilled in humble circumstances.
And what is hope? What is the longing in our hearts? It is the thought and belief that our situation will change. That we are not doomed to live in misery, that there is a better tomorrow, that somebody out there loves us, and not just somebody, but the Almighty Creator of the Universe loves us and cares for us. That he has not forgotten us in our time of need. When we realized the powerlessness of our efforts in saving ourselves, He came into our lives to show and live out by example the way to righteousness, the way to life.
What is the hopelessness our situation?
Perhaps we can take the cue from people like Pastor Neville Tan or Kelvin Soh. Both of these men I have met in real life.
Both men were jailed in prison without hope. Neville, a gangster who almost met the death penalty but fell short because he was only 2 weeks away from his 18th birthday. And Kelvin a hard-core drug addict without a mother and had a similar gang member drug addict father as an example. He lived 20 years of his life in prison.
No hope and written off by society and even themselves. Yet they were touched by the words written in the Bible.
What is the sense of hopelessness that we have in our lives? We may not be in the situation of Kelvin or Neville where it is in surviving in a society that has written us off.
It could be in paying off the home loan, feeling the strain of paying off each month's bill. Or more subtly, in a life of quiet desperation, living a comfortable life, but not enjoying the adventure that God has in store for us.
It could be in relationships, between husband and wives who feel the spark has been lost, a father that has become so wrapped up in his career that his children don't know him, between neighbours who hardly speak to one another.
It could be in countries and nations. There are nations with corrupt and incompetent leaders who only think about lining their own pockets. There are nations with leaders who use fear, hate and pride to continually stir the people for their own agenda.
So what is the hope that Christmas brings? It is the hope that things can change.
It is the gift that says "God is with us". We are not alone! He knows us and hears our cries and there is something better out there.
It is love made tangible by an invisible God.
And that was demonstrated 33 years later when that Gift showed us by example by leading a life of servanthood. A life eschewing the vanities of this life and sacrificed his life on the a tree on Golgotha. And in that example by giving up our lives we gain our life back.
What did Jesus do? He turned people from simple fishermen and hated tax-collectors into his servants. He transformed their lives into lives that turned the world upside down.
I know that God can transform our lives. He did not come to create a life of comfort on this world but instead a life of impact, of power, of the glory of the Father reflected in our lives, transformed lives.
It is our lives that he wants to change and most of all from the inside. After all, aren't most of the problems of this earth our own making?
The final question we must ask, do we let Him, the Christ, the light of the world light up our lives?