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07.12.2017

Who Tells Your Story? | Connecting with Culture

I. Can’t. Wait. For 9 January, that is, when I will finally get to see the West End’s newest and most eagerly anticipated show!

Hamilton, the hip-hop Broadway musical about one of America’s Founding Fathers opened in London on Wednesday and I’m desperate to see it, not least because I’m intrigued to see how it works here.

The play follows Alexander Hamilton from Revolutionary War hero to George Washington’s right-hand man. Amid the trials and the challenges of creating a country almost from scratch, Hamilton bubbles with outrageous hope at the myriad possibilities he can see.

Such a storyline contrasts starkly with the predominant British attitude towards the issues facing us. If America’s prevailing characteristic is optimism, the UK’s often seems to be cynicism; enthusiasm and positivity tend to be ridiculed as disturbingly naive. There’s no doubt that we’ve got some significant challenges to work through as a nation, but it’s striking how few voices are offering any sense of hope.

One theme of Hamilton is that of the stories that shape our understanding of ourselves and our place in the world. Our current cultural story is one of darkness and despair, yet the story God tells us is that:

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2)

We need not fear the future, we who belong to him, because we know it is safe in his hands. We need not feel helpless before the needs of our nation and our neighbours, because we have a God who can and will and does make a difference. He is the God who brings tyrants to their knees, who feeds the hungry and clothes the poor, who shines in the darkness and whom the darkness does not, will not, cannot overshadow.

Many churches lit the first candle on their advent wreaths last Sunday, representing a blaze of hope in the darkness. One of the most revolutionary things we can do as Christians is to carry this flame of hope into the world, to play our part in the story illuminated by the knowledge of how it ends.

Whatever your circumstances, your worries, and your fears, may you be filled anew with hope this Christmas as you once again read and hear and sing the story of outrageous hope found in Jesus, the light of the world.

Jennie Pollock
Jennie is a writer and editor. She blogs at jenniepollock.com and tweets as @missjenniep

 

Author

Jennie Pollock

Comments

  1. Love this message of light and hope at Christmas time.
    Thank you and wishing you a blessed Christmas

    By Penny - 8th December 2017
  2. Hi Jennie

    I awoke to your wonderful writing this morning and was encouraged and inspired by what you said.

    I hope that the performance f Hamilton does not disappoint and I await your thoughts with interest.

    Happy to have discovered you and your blog. Cheers and God bless.

    By Mark Johnson. Out of the Ark Music - 8th December 2017
  3. Thank you, Jennie. This is a very timely reminder for us to be daily guided, shaped and inspired by what God tells us clearly in His word.

    It is so easy to have our mood and attitude moulded instead by the daily news and media round, much of which is negative, carping and unhelpful as we navigate our way forward in difficult times. We need the news services but not the tone of negativity!

    By Jeremy Clare - 8th December 2017
  4. As I write some tyrants are not being brought to their knees and thousands are not being fed and clothed.
    Don’t we need to say something about that?

    By Jean Watson - 8th December 2017
  5. Thank you for your encouraging words everyone.

    Jean, yes, that’s true. My intention in writing was to encourage us that rather than despairing about the problems, we can have hope that through our prayers and our actions – serving the poor however God calls us to, speaking out in love and truth into situations that need it, carrying the light of the gospel out into the world – God can and will use us to shine light into the darkness.

    By Jennie Pollock - 8th December 2017
  6. We may experience the wonder of the Christmas story and it will stir in us amazing overwhelming love of God in our hearts.

    But as write i share the feelings of Jean Watson some tyrants are even now not brought to their knees and millions are unclothed, unhoused and hungry.We do need to hold them to God and DO something. Mary quenby

    By mary quenby - 8th December 2017
  7. It strikes me that in times of “doom and gloom”, we really need hope, else we can fall into despair and depression as we get carried away with the negativity around us..
    However hope and optimism are not the same thing, even though they are both “positive attitudes” in times of negativity. Christian hope can coexist with the certainty of disaster, but optimism often tries to deny the consequences of the situation.
    As Christians our hope is in a God who works ALL things together for good, and so even when things go wrong in our lives, we can be sure that God will bring good out of it. We can preserve hope in the face of a loved one with terminal cancer, because we know that God still loves and cares for us and our loved one – even as they face death. It is tough, but that is the beauty of hope. It truly gives us light in the darkness, but it does not eliminate the darkness around us.
    So let’s remember the Hope that Christ’s birth brought on that first Christmas night in an occupied land, and look forward to the future with confidence! Blessed Christmas to all!!

    By Nii Asante - 9th December 2017
  8. Hi Jennie
    Read this uplifting comment having just turned off Radio 4’s week in Westminster. Thank you for the timely reminder that those of us that belong to the Lord ‘walk in the light’.
    Stay blessed, have a happy and holy Christmas

    By Ann Page - 9th December 2017
  9. Jennie, thanks once again for your perspective, encouragement and reminder of God’s heart towards human kind.
    Nil Asante, thanks to you too for highlighting and defining your understanding of hope vs optimism. Never before in our living memory does the world need to know more hope and the significance of it. I’m challenged to dig deeper into the well of hope, opened up for us.

    By Christine - 10th December 2017

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