January 2015


They said there’ll be snow at Christmas,

They said there’ll be peace on earth

But instead it just keeps on raining

A veil of tears for the virgin’s birth.


(From the song ‘I believe in Father Christmas’ by Greg Lake.)

At the time of writing this article, a few days before Christmas, I have no idea whether it snowed at Christmas or not.  The long range forecast seems to suggest not but the weather can be unpredictable.  However, certainly and sadly there is an absence of peace in our world.  The message of the angels, ‘Peace on earth, good will to all people’, seems to fall on deaf ears.  The words of the song above can reflect a lack of peace at an individual level as well as at a world level. 

Very often for me, in the first few days of January, things can seem a little empty.  The Christmas tree, lights and decorations go back in the boxes and put back in the loft for another year.  The Christmas cards, displayed around the rooms of the Rectory, go to be recycled.  The Christmas goodies have all been eaten and the Christmas CDs go back in the rack.  Everything goes back to normal and our home feels bare.

On occasions we run a Christians basic course at church.  One of the things we ask participants to think about is what their life goals are.  They are asked to prioritise things such as good relationships, a steady job, happy children, plenty of money and personal health amongst a range of other things.  The one which comes out on top for a lot of people is ‘inner peace’.  I think this speaks of the yearning in all of us to know peace and to have a deep sense of contentment and all is well with the world.

I suppose if I was going to move on from that I might ask a follow up question.  So what stops us having that inner peace?  We worry about all kinds of things… our health, money, our jobs… but probably the thing we worry most about is our friends and family. We worry about them not being safe, or being ill, or struggling with all kinds of stuff that life throws at them.  We want to know at all times that they are OK.  All of these things and more can stop us having that inner peace, that deep sense of well-being and contentment we all long for.

As I Christian I believe that God coming into the world speaks right into the heart of our need.  Wrapped up in those swaddling clothes in that vulnerable little baby, is the hope and peace we as individuals need and our world so desperately needs.  Jesus came and lived among us.  He understands us and our needs.  He understand and knows our pain as well as our joys.

In John’s gospel Jesus is quoted as saying these words.  “Peace I leave with you, peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not let them be afraid.”

This is what the coming of God into the world in the person Jesus is all about.  Only God in Jesus can bring the deep down and lasting peace.  A peace that encourages us to face the future with realism and bright hopes.

Let’s not put the message of Christmas back in the loft with the Christmas tree decorations.  Let’s put our trust in the Prince of Peace, not just at Christmas but every day of the year.

So to return to that song I quotes earlier…

I wish you a hopeful Christmas.

I wish you a brave new year.

All anguish pain and sadness

Leave your heart and let your road be clear.

Peace to you in 2015.  Vicar Carol

Our trouble is we want the peace without the Prince.

Addison Leitch