In a Christmas message released on Dec. 17, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, reminded Anglicans not to take for granted their ability to openly celebrate their faith this Christmas.
“Many others celebrate this faith in the face of oppression and at the risk of persecution,” he said, going on to speak of the past year’s tragedies, of “churches torched, school girls kidnapped, people beheaded.” Amidst celebrations of Christmas, Christians should not forget those who have “swelled the ranks of the martyr throng because they confessed the name of Jesus.”
Hiltz also emphasized that despite the unrelenting stream of bad news coming from all corners of the world in 2014, the story of the incarnation is one of profound hope. He began his message by noting that the first announcement of the incarnation came to shepherds, people who were “often looked upon by those in high places as poor and dirty.”
Focusing on Luke 2:9, “the glory of the Lord shone round about them,” Hiltz suggested that this glory is best shown in the incarnation, which springs from God’s desire to “love the world into redemption, to love the nations into reconciliation and lasting peace, and to love us all into lives that are good and holy.”
In dark times, said Hiltz, the glory of the Lord is needed more than ever – both in the hearts of the faithful and in their neighbourhoods and nations.