Every Christmas, I wonder if this one will be different. The
Christmas readings suggest the possibility.
Isaiah 52:7: How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the
messenger of peace.
And Luke 2:14: Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth
peace among people.
Peace and Hope and Joy are part of the Christmas Message.
Normally, we think of the birth of children and as a time of hope and joy. The
Birth of the Prince of Peace should evoke ever more of the same.
While looking at Isaiah 52:7, I came across, Isaiah 52:3; You
were sold but no price was paid and without payment you were ransomed. This
refers to the people being in captivity in Egypt and oppressed by the Assyrians
and yet, in both cases, set free without ransom.
The gift of Christmas is just that, a free gift.
What is the free gift?
John’s Gospel as part of the Christmas choice of readings: John
1:12. To those who did accept him,
he gave the power to become children of God.
Therefore we are part of the family of God. Do we stay as
children, accepting the gifts from God and others at Christmas, or do we move
to maturity of faith; giving to others and helping them find the peace and joy
for which we are also looking?
The St. Francis prayer then came to mind;
Lord, make me an
instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred,
let me sow love.
Where there is injury,
Where there is doubt,
Where there is despair,
Where there is darkness,
Where there is sadness,
O Divine Master, grant
that I may not so much seek
to be consoled, as to
to be understood, as to
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that
It is in pardoning that
we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that
we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.
I know it is difficult
to find the time and energy at this time of year with the regular busyness of
our lives, and add the demands of family and Christmas on top of all this, yet
I cannot help thinking; for it is in giving that we receive.
We watch the news and
hear about all the pain and suffering in the world. This is bound to give
anyone feelings of guilt and frustration about what can be done and what can we
do. Maybe for us, it is not so much the big world-wide picture, but in our own
corner are we living this question? How are we treating family and friends,
neighbours and the strangers we meet?
I hope and pray, each one of us, in our own way, is finding the
peace and hope and joy of Christmas and passing it on to others around us,
making each of us instruments of God’s peace.
the blessings of Christmas to you and yours,
Rev. Bryce Sangster