PEACE AND JOY to you and yours this Christmas night. I’m happy to be at home. I read somewhere that Nigella Lawson “revels in the warmth and light of the house” on Christmas afternoons. Me too. And in bacon sandwiches – always my first reward after the late night and the morning’s Eucharistic worship. But I’m revelling, too, in calling to mind the good natured people I’ve met, in their hundreds, at church services, in the past month; revelling in the truth that in this part of the world there are hundreds of young people who are wonderfully proficient in the art of making music; hundreds who, in one way or another, whether in drama, story-telling, film or friendship, work or worship set out to share Christ’s call to build a peace-filled world.
And it’s a source of particular joy to me that Her Majesty the Queen’s Christmas Broadcast makes similar appeal … for “peace, tolerance and goodwill”. Pope Benedict asks “Let us love God and, starting from him, let us also love man, so that, starting from man, we can then rediscover God in a new way!”. Archbishop Rowan of Canterbury told today’s gathering at Canterbury Cathedral that “as he (Jesus) gives, he makes us grow, and sends us to make the same promise in his name to all, whatever the conflicts, whatever the guilt. To all he offers the authority to be children of God; from his fullness we may all receive, grace upon grace.”
Bishop Riah, the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem writes:
Astronaut Neil Armstrong, first human to step on the moon said: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” I have always believed in small beginnings. I have a great dream which requires a small step to mushroom in the land. I called it “Integratsia”. I see children of the three Abrahamic faiths: Arab Christians, Moslems, and Jews gathered in the warmth of harmony in one educational center co-living and integrating as one. The iceberg that has been separating people on basis of race, color and religion, has got to melt down. Extend a hand. Make this dream come true.
I’ve met so many people this Christmas who share these dreams that tonight I, too, feel able to “revel in the warmth and light of the house”. May the vision pervade every day, every people and every nation in the coming year, the vision – God’s vision – of light and warmth and peace.