The reason we need this period of Advent is so that we understand the enormity of Christmas and can reflect on why God had to send His Son, Jesus, to be the Saviour of the world. Hope can only fully be understood in the context of what it means to have no hope.

Right now, many people are facing uncertain times. There is economic instability in the world; there are fears about many topics, including how to pay our bills and what we will do to survive winter. There are fears about wars, about the climate, about political issues. We have spent the past two years being bombarded with bad news, and for many people, this has led to a sense of hopelessness and helplessness, anxiety and worry. Hope, the fuel that keeps us going through difficult times, is in short supply, it seems.

Paul tells us that all of us at one point were ‘without hope and without God in the world.’ (Eph 2:12) The first step in finding hope is to realise that the world is a dark place, and that we need God if we are to find our way through to light and day. John says, ‘God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.’ (1 John 1:5) The God who separated the light from the darkness (Genesis 1:3-4) is the reason we have any hope at all. If you’re in a dark place right now, know that Jesus is described as the light of the world (John 8:12) and that His light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome the light. (John 1:5)