With the advent of Christmas how will you prepare while we wait for the holiest night of the year?
Just as the commemoration of WW1 encouraged us all to look at what peace might mean for us, so does the Manger. At Christmas we are asked, for a few moments, to gather around the promise of peace and good will to all people; born as a baby in a manger,’ Jesus Christ, Son of God.
Our WW1 remembering reminded us of the story of troops in the trenches singing “Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht – Silent Night, Holy Night”. As this Carol, written by Franz Gruber in 1818, became a moment when voices in different languages found something that they agreed on, the quiet singing filled the no-man’s land between then. They hoped for peace.
In a nation were the political wasteland of no-man’s land is a dangerous place to be, where polarised thinking divides us on more issues than just Bexit, we all huddle in the trench of our convictions and fear.
But above the sound of angry words comes the word of peace. Peace heralded by heaven itself as ordinary people quake at the sound. They fear that this heavenly reverberation will destroy them but the reassurance is that God does not come to destroy but to heal. That healing comes small and weak and in poverty.
What is the sound you will hear as you prepare? Will the reverberations of heavenly promise fill your ears? Can we rise from our trenches and play in the no-man’s land with our perceived enemies? But more importantly can we stay in the place were we can agree or will we go back to the trench?
Peace is found living in that moment of agreeing.
“Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht – Silent Night, Holy Night”
May the peace and love of Christ go with you and be among you this Christmas.
Rev. Penelope Smirthwaite