Glory to God... and on earth peace

Once again comes the time to celebrate the Christmas Story.

This is of course one of the great festivals of the Church’s year. We move through the weeks of Advent and of reflection on God’s big plan, with mounting anticipation. We gather in our churches for our Carol Services; we meet in our pubs to hear our favourite carols and to join in with the BART Singers; we share the joy and excitement of Nativity Plays and Crib and Christingle Services — check out the service plan and other pages in this issue of Pilgrims —come and join in. We celebrate with joy in church services God’s gift of a special baby, God’s own Son, born in poverty and obscurity 2000 years ago. And among families, friends and neighbours we share special times together, in this season of goodwill. Can we try to spread the goodwill widely, so that no one of our neighbours is left out? We move on into the New Year with a sense of new possibilities, new beginnings; and we follow the Epiphany Story of the Wise Men and of the baby born to be a King for all peoples.

In the midst of the celebration and festivity and fun, may we pause to hear the voice of the angels who sang that night when the Christ-Child was born; may we hear their song— ‘Glory to God’. Give glory to God who has revealed his glory by stepping down to live among humankind, not distant but involved. ‘And on earth peace:’ this is why he came, Jesus, God made man — to bring peace. Above all, the Christmas baby grew up to be the man on the Easter cross who gave his life to break down the barriers of human wrong-doing that separate us from God. In so doing Jesus offers us the precious gift of the peace of reconciliation with God.

Every Christian who knows the peace of reconciliation with God is called to be a person of reconciliation, to offer the reconciliation that we have been shown back into our families, our communities, our nation, all nations. This Christmas season may well prove to be a particular time when, in our own nation, we must take reconciliation most especially to heart and work determinedly to heal divisions and to promote the common good.

Once again —

O hush your noise ye men of strife and hear the angels sing
of peace on earth among those whom the Lord favours (Luke 2:14)

May you know and share God’s blessings this Christmas time, Linda