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Share the light 

Introducing a church-wide, nationwide communications campaign to inspire our nation this Christmas. By Mike Elms

Share the light

The inspiration
As Christmas approaches, we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

John’s Gospel says this:

“The true light that gives light to every person was coming into the world”  John 1:9

The year 2020 started, as many years that end in a zero do, with a sense of optimism and looking to the future. Whether we agreed or disagreed with it, Brexit had been done and now the country needed to come together. This was an Olympian year, a time when athletes from the world over would come together united in sport and the Olympic ideal. And this was 2020, a year of perfect 20/20 vision which many organisations seized upon as their rallying cry for their future plans.

As the fireworks lit up the skies across the world to mark its beginning, this did indeed promise to be a year of light.
All that changed as Coronavirus swept around the globe, plunging it into darkness. Instead of a year of coming together it turned into a year of separation as national frontiers were closed, communities were thrust into lockdown; families and friends were kept apart by isolation and social distancing.

Symbolically, the Olympics were postponed, the flame extinguished before it was even lit.
But this darkness was pierced by countless shafts of shining light as care workers in the NHS, hospices, care homes and other health institutions put their lives on the line to care for the sick. As did essential workers in the retail, utilities, transport, local council services and many other sectors.

Doctors, nurses, ambulance crews, porters, shopworkers, power station and sewage plant operatives, bus and train drivers, lorry and delivery van drivers; too many to list in entirety, but they, and we, know who they are.

People and organisations reached out to those in need: delivering food and medications, giving lifts to hospital appointments, providing practical help and moral support. NHS and local community volunteers, foodbanks and restaurants, churches, mosques, temples. Nearly 1 million people signed up to the GoodSam app. National icons emerged rallying the country around them: Captain Tom, Joe Wicks, Marcus Rashford.
All these, and more, are the lights celebrated in a beautifully sensitive film and its soul-searching soundtrack that lights the touch paper for the wider ‘Share The Light’ campaign. It’s a film that crosses the boundary between sacred and secular to spark a shared, light-infused, love-suffused experience.
You can see the film here: www.sharethelight.co.uk

The Christmas communication

People are asking what Christmas will be like this year. The answer is that it will be how we choose to make it be. We cannot, and should not, forget the loneliness, despair, suffering and loss that so many people have endured, and just try to do ‘Christmas as normal’. That would be crass.

Rather, as Christians, we should seek to come alongside those who have suffered; and we should seek to bring our nation together to celebrate the good news that, by the grace of God, embodied in the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, and embedded in human endeavour, darkness has not overcome the light, and never will.
This Christmas, in word and deed, in love and care, hope and help; this communications campaign asks that we all seek to ‘Share the Light’.
The campaign will encourage all churches and Christian organisations to participate. All participants will be free to use the film and customise it to suit their own church or organisation. We find our hope in Jesus and Christmas is all about celebrating his birth. Though the film doesn’t explicitly state this we hope that it will be a conversation starter for people to be able to share their faith or to learn more about this message of hope.
On Advent Sunday, 29 November, we are asking that people share the film on their social media at 6.30pm. How wonderful it would be to get this film and its message of Christian hope trending! 
John’s gospel also says:

“The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not overcome it.”

So, the climax of the campaign will be a call to action for all people across the nation to ‘Share the Light’ at 8pm on Monday 21 December (the shortest, darkest day of the year), by displaying a lighted candle in their window and continuing to do so until Christmas Day. By so doing, what a wonderful signal of Christian unity, love and hope we shall display to our nation!

To join the campaign, follow this link: www.sharethelight.co.uk

Mike Elms is the Chair of Trustees for Christian Publishing and Outreach (CPO), which is behind the campaign




Baptist Times, 27/11/2020
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