On Sunday, with the snow flying around and having no choice but to enjoy a quiet day at home, we watched a film together as a family: Amazing Grace. It is a historical film based on the life of William Wilberforce, who was instrumental in seeing the slave trade abolished in England. There are a couple of graphic descriptions of slavery (told, not shown), but it is a suitable film for older children.
There is a scene in the film where Wilberforce tricks a bunch of parliamentarians and their wives into taking a harbour cruise. He secretly arranges for their boat to come right next to a slave ship. As the stench from the slave ship wafts over the wealthy and powerful, he describes the horrors of the slave trade and urges them to take in the smell of death, to never forget it. Having smelled the truth about slavery, he urges them to do something about it.
This Christmas, I am reminded that Jesus did not stay far away from the horrors of our world–but he entered right into it. He came into our world in order to bring the freedom that is so desperately necessary. Great Christians like William Wilberforce remind us of what it looks like to follow in the footsteps of our Messiah. We are not called to isolate ourselves from the truth about our world–but to be willing face the darkness and enter into it with the light of Jesus.