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!”|
As I begin to think about Christmas this year, my mind keeps drifting back to 2019. As Advent began in 2019, I was just returning from 2 weeks in Israel and Palestine. Much of out time there was spent in Bethlehem. As we watched the decorations begin to appear, there was a very real sense of anticipation. One of our groups had decided to remain in Israel over the following months and was very excited about spending Christmas in Bethlehem.
I can’t help but wonder what Christmas will be like in Bethlehem this year. Will the people there hear the sound of angels singing or will they hear the sound of gunfire and explosions? Will there be goodwill to all, Christian, Jew and Palestinian? Will anyone even remember that the Christ of Christmas is the one who is called the Prince of Peace?
Agnes M. Pohro, a well-respected American writer and artist, asks the question “What is Christmas?” She then gives this beautiful answer. It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal and that every path may lead to peace.
As we wait for the coming of the Prince of Peace this year, perhaps we need to ask ourselves what are the tender
memories of the past that enrich our celebration of the season this year? What courage do we need to face the present situation in our own lives, in our families, in our community or in our world? And, in the midst of all of this, how do we continue to hold on to hope for the future?
Perhaps the answer lies in the last sentence of this quote. It is a wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal and that every path may lead to peace.
Perhaps the courage and hope lie in changing this wish into a goal. Perhaps if we do what we can to help provide for those whose cup in empty and to walk the path of peace ourselves, we may find what Christmas is all about at an even deeper level.
My wish for you all this year is tenderness, courage, hope, rich blessings and most of all, peace.