December 2016


Dear Friends,

One of the titles offered to Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Although the world has changed so much since the birth of Jesus, we all still need peace. Words fail to describe the scenes we have glimpsed of children clinging to life in war zones in Syria and Afghanistan, as their parents cling on to their hopes that life will somehow be different when there is liberation. As a post-war child I remember the shock I felt as a young teenager when I first saw news footage of tanks rolling across a desert plain and realised this was for real, not an all-action film with heroes and victors. Those scenes were being lived out a whole continent away, not in the next street.

For the sake of all those suffering people, I pray that during these next weeks, in spite of all the gloom and uncertainty, we shall witness a breakthrough in international diplomacy, and that we shall see signs of peace. As has often been said, the presence of a baby in the household doesn’t bring peace in the usual sense, yet the child in the manger at Bethlehem offers to the world hope and peace. In humble love and service for the brightest and the best and for those who have the least or wait the longest, God is with us.

Since Jesus brings peace, it is ironic that we prepare to celebrate the coming of Jesus, by becoming so busy with commercial activities, family obligations and with the whole range of church life. May we find some peace over Christmas, and find an opportunity to share the resulting sense of well-being.  In the New Year may we find hope, even in the midst of sadness and bewilderment and fear.  Matthew’s gospel tells us the story of the wise men who journey to find Jesus, worship him, and return to their own country by another road. (Matthew 2: 12)  Encountering Jesus opens up another road on which to travel in peace, with hope and even joy.

I wish you a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year,  Helen Caine