This nativity scene used to be set up at the corner of South Fraser Way and Clearbrook Road in Abbotsford. It will now be erected at St. James Catholic Church on Townline Road. (Black Press file photo)

This nativity scene used to be set up at the corner of South Fraser Way and Clearbrook Road in Abbotsford. It will now be erected at St. James Catholic Church on Townline Road. (Black Press file photo)

CHRISTMAS COLUMN: A message of hope in a time of inconvenience

Our hope is not in religion, politics or philosophy. Rather, our hope is in a Saviour

O little town of Bethlehem

How still we see thee lie

Above thy deep and dreamless sleep

The silent stars go by

Yet in thy dark streets shineth

The everlasting Light

The hopes and fears of all the years

Are met in thee tonight.

(Lyrics and Music by Lewis Henry Redner and Phillips Brooks)

I read the following summary of Bethlehem: “Bethlehem is a story about a humble couple who loved God, going on an unwanted journey, at an inconvenient time to visit a tiny insignificant town where God chose to send His love.”

Why not Jerusalem – the seat of religious power?

Or why not Rome – the centre of political power?

Why not Athens – the centre of intellectual power?

Because God was sending a message.

A message that our hope is not in religion, politics or philosophy. Rather, our hope is in a Saviour.

This Christmas could become a Bethlehem moment for you.

Bethlehem. A tiny, unimportant, insignificant town. A place of potential. Do you relate?

Do you feel like Bethlehem? Tiny? Insignificant? Unimportant? God is sending you a message. He doesn’t see you for what you are. Rather, He sees you for what you can become.

The baby born in a manger represents hope. A fresh start. A new world. With different values. It’s accomplished through salvation and forgiveness. Not through a political coup or violent protest. Rather it is achieved through love and kindness. Compassion and caring. Grace and mercy.

Bethlehem. A place of inconvenience.

It was not exactly featured in travel brochures and heralded as one of the top 10 tourist destinations. You didn’t travel there unless you absolutely had to. And that is the plight of Joseph and Mary.

Why were they going to Bethlehem? To register. For what? A government order. A census. The emperor demanded that everyone go to their hometowns and register so he could count the citizens in his empire.

Are we living in a year of inconvenience? Well, to be blunt, there are other words you might choose to describe 2020.

Pause for a moment. What if the government order had not been issued? What if a pregnant young lady and her husband chose not to travel to Bethlehem? What about years of prophetic promises foretelling this very event?

No. In the midst of incredible inconvenience, the best event history has witnessed unfolded.

Not in Caesar’s palace. Not in Herod’s court. Not in the capital city. In Bethlehem.

Could this Christmas become a Bethlehem moment for you? That in the midst of incredible inconvenience, we witness some of the most extraordinary and magnificent events ever witnessed. Not necessarily in blazing splendour but in small, simple gestures. Easy to miss.

But in this season, they stand out as bright as the star that led the wisemen to the place where Jesus was.

Don’t miss the moment. Recognize beauty in simplicity. Jesus born for you.

Merry Christmas.

Rick Gay is the pastor of Summerland Alliance Church.


Just Posted

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

RCMP thanked the public for assistance in finding Benjamin Archie, last seen in Princeton. (RCMP)
Missing Chilliwack man found safe and sound

The 80-year-old had walked away from his home in Chilliwack

Princeton’s Spotlight wins two provincial awards for excellence

Publisher takes first place for investigative reporting

Princeton GSAR responds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In 2020 the crew was called out 34 times, and members spent 721 hours on calls, and 683 hours training. Photo Princeton GSAR Facebook
Teen missing in Manning Park found after 24 hours

Young man spends night on mountain and survives with just a few scrapes

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop live horse export

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

(Dave Ogilvie photo)
One injured after being pinned by fallen forklift near Peachland

West Kelowna emergency crews responded to reports of a person stuck under a forklift

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

This goose family went for a leisurely stroll down Vernon’s Main Street Saturday, April 25. (Dave Deshane photo)
Controversial Vernon goose cull won’t fly this year

Necessary permit procedures held up at a federal level

Mounties cover a burgundy truck with a tent at Buckerfields in West Kelowna on Monday, June 14. The RCMP is investigating after a woman’s body was found inside the truck. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating suspicious death after body found in truck

Police responded to a truck parked out front of a Main Street business where the body was found

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Most Read