We face all kinds of threats to our security in our own time, just as people did in Jesus’s time. Rome proclaimed its own sort of peace, the Pax Romana; but it was proclaimed on the point of a sword. For many of our leaders today, peace is something to be achieved through armed conflict. They may be right, but the peace proclaimed by angels on a nighttime hillside to frightened shepherds is an altogether different sort of peace. It’s not the sort of peace that is achieved through violence, but the refusal to take up the means of violence of any sort, whether physical, verbal, emotional or psychological and whether perpetrated against strangers or those closer to home. It offers the vision of a world where swords are turned into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks – we might say in the language of our own time that automatic weapons are recast as tractors.
Bringing those thoughts together, I hope that this Christmas will be a time for two things in our community: peace and the welcome of the stranger. I hope that we can welcome refugees of all sorts into our hearts and into our locality, whether they be refugees from violence in the Middle East or refugees from neglect or abuse in our own region. Let us open the borders of our hearts to one another too. We’ve engaged in some difficult conversations recently in Lady Bay.
I pray that we will still welcome each other, even where we’ve disagreed and that this Christmas will be a time of peace and reconciliation for all. Have a blessed Christmastime.
Pioneer Minister and Vicar of Lady Bay