We too were once strangers by Dionne Gravesande

It seems as though Christmas comes around before we can even blink our eyes!  2019 has been a very uncertain year for many – if not all – of us: prolonged Brexit negotiations; the turmoil in Parliament, and the splits within our political parties…  These have caused many of us to think that if this is what happens in our esteemed parliamentary institutions, what hope is there for the ordinary men and women in society?

We have also seen another year of serious youth violence, with a record number of people being murdered by knife crime. The question on all our minds is: When will this end? and we wonder whether this will become the norm for us, as every day we seem to be hearing of the murder of yet another young person.  We are not just considering the murder of young people, but the wider impact on families – both victim and perpetrator – on our communities and on society at large.

Every day we turn on the TV or listen to our radios, and there is just as much turmoil, confusion and conflict on the world stage. One of the books I read this year was called The 21: A Journey into the Land of Coptic Martyrs by Martin Mosebach.  As I listened to the author at the book launch, and subsequently read the book, it was as if my eyes and my mind were opened to the immense suffering many people are facing in our world today.

I take great comfort as I read the Bible, however. Throughout this year, I have been reminded in the Gospel of John chapter 14, when Jesus said: “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid…”

I am reminded that it was the same Jesus who said to the wind and the waves “Peace, be still.”

Quotation: ‘Peace is an inner quietness that keeps us calm in the midst of the storm’

Whatever kind of year you have had, how ever hard or difficult it has been, whether you have been disappointed or let down, Jesus came into this world to bring peace, and that peace is for every individual, every home, every community, every city and every nation on this earth.

The Church and all Christians can be comforted by Scriptures:

“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day, in the City of David, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: you will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”” (Luke 2:8-14 NKJV)

May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all over this Christmas period and beyond.

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