‘THE people that walked in darkness have seen a great light,’ wrote the prophet Isaiah, three thousand years ago.

The pandemic has made us, too, a people that walk-in darkness: the darkness of fear and insecurity, of disagreement and division, of isolation and separation, of sickness and death.

Even if Covid should disappear, our future looks dark.

No end is in sight to refugees so desperate that they risk drowning, to addicts driven by despair, to increasingly wild weather, to the loss of countless marvellous species.

It is we who are longing for light - for courage, for hope, for life and for love.

The writers of the New Testament applied Isaiah’s prophecy to Jesus.

He was the child who would be called ‘Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’, in Isaiah’s words, familiar to us from Handel’s Messiah.

What they found in him was what we are seeking.

He inspired hope by preaching forgiveness and healing the sick.

He steadfastly accepted his terrible death, so that, through it came resurrection and life.

Finally, he enabled his followers to share his own life, the life that flows from God his Father, by giving them, giving us, the Holy Spirit.

To his disciples, Jesus said, ‘You are the light of the world.’

He passed on to them his own task of bringing peace to humankind.

We too, through him, can become the light that our darkened world so desperately needs.

Even Lockdown cannot stop us from celebrating that.

Sr Margaret Atkins

Canoness of St Augustine

Boarbank Hall

Grange over Sands