Chaplain’s Corner: Why was Jesus born into our broken world 2000 years ago?

Why was Jesus born into our broken, suffering world 2,000 years ago? If you’ve attended Sunday School or listened to a TV preacher you might say, “To die for our sins so that we might be saved and one day go to heaven”. Well, that’s a good “short answer” but there’s more, so much more.

Six centuries before the birth of Jesus, the Hebrew prophet Isaiah foresaw the message and ministry of the coming Messiah, a passage that Jesus would own at the start of His own ministry.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.

This Christmas, let’s ponder these wonderful reasons why Jesus came and ask ourselves-“Do I find myself in this passage?” “How about what I do and where I work?”

Jesus came to proclaim good news to the poor. Throughout His ministry he proclaimed the Kingdom of God to the neglected of society, bringing healing and hope to the sick, the lame and the outcast. Vancouver’s Downtown East Side is one of Canada’s poorest neighbourhoods and although Jesus is not here in person, in His name you and I are daily bringing the hope of the Gospel to our neighbours in need. Few (except chaplains) “preach” the Good News but everyone working and serving at Harbour Light is demonstrating the love of God in practical ways. Warm meals, a bed for the night, programs for life and recovery are all proclaiming God’s heart of compassion to our fellow travellers.

His message of hope is for all of us too. Like many Vancouverites we struggle with record inflation, food prices and high rents but do not live below the poverty line.  We may, however, be spiritually poor- living in depression, loneliness and fear. Life has been hard. We’ve felt the pain of rejection. Losses have been many, including here at Harbour Light. The Good News of Christmas is that God became one of us to carry our sorrows and be present in life’s turmoil and uncertainty.  As 2023 draws to a close, may God turn our mourning into joy and bind our broken hearts. Above all, may we look forward to 2024 as a year when we proclaim God’s favour over our lives, our families and this vibrant place where we work and serve.

-John Polkki, Director of Spiritual Care at VHL

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