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Three things come together at this time of year. First, there is the Christian celebration of the coming of the Light of the World into the world through the birth of Jesus. Second, at least in the Northern hemisphere, there is the passing of the shortest day and the winter solstice, and a movement towards greater light and warmth in the natural world. Third, in human society, there is a turning point in the Calendar, and the beginning of the New Year, 2006. All of these, in their different ways speak to us of hope, and each of the three can reinforce the message of the others as we try to try to take more deeply to heart God’s eternal message to humanity of hope, growth, renewal, opportunity and transformation. It is a message that the Church needs to absorb ever more deeply before it can witness to that message in the world. Fraser Watts
Each century sees progression in Christian understanding. There were several developments in the 20th century; for example, there was a deeper understanding of the suffering of God, and His identification with our own suffering. Another development of the 20th century concerned the role of doubt, and its contribution to faith.
We are complex people: none of us are entirely believers, or entirely doubters. Most of us are a mixture of the two. The faith of a person who has also known doubt is stronger than that of someone to whom doubts have never occurred. Doubting Thomas journeyed through doubt to faith, and finally to the point where he could say in a truly heart-felt way ‘smy Lord and my God’.
So to those who have doubts: doubt is alright; doubt is part of the journey to faith.
How can doubt benefit faith? Relationships are often strengthened through testing times. So it is with doubt.
Doubt at least shows you are taking things seriously; you are thinking them through. Further, it’s not just what we believe, but how we believe that is important. This is the contrast between a merely intellectual faith, and a faith that is heart-felt. Doubt gives us the time to explore things thoroughly and to make them our own…