It’s Christmas and some of us go a bit crazy with Christmas lights. I love Christmas and one of the expressions of the season is lighting up your yard. This year my pomegranate tree has grown to about 4 metres and so after pruning it is the shape of a Christ-mas tree I was going to net it (to keep it free of fruit fly) and then cover it with lights. I’ve been putting up lights for a while now and with the help of a neighbour they are bigger and better than ever. But as I stood on the ladder preparing to net the Pomegranate tree I looked between the very green branches. There about 2 ft from my face was a Blackbird in my Pomegranate tree. She had built herself the most lovely and compact nest I’d ever seen. What to do?? I threw the idea of a net out and continued with the lights.
This started me thinking about Christmas and Peace on Earth. This poor mother bird wasn’t going to get much peace this Christmas. My tree is to the left of my front gate so there are all the comings and goings of the people to my place. Then there is the Christmas lights flashing through the night and the road noise from the street. Why did she choose there – maybe she had no other choice.
Whether you believe in the Christmas story or not the interesting thing about Jesus’ story is he was actually born into chaos. The pictures show a clean barn under a peaceful stary night in a quiet small town. The reality was Mary would have been tired, sore and scared (donkeys are not luxury travel – if they actually had one). Joseph would have been uncertain and worried about how the heck he would help a very young wife to have a baby. The barn as we should realise (if you are a farmer) would have been noisy, dirty and smell of animals. The streets of Bethlehem would have been anything but quiet, every inn was full due to the census. On top of this, the town was under Roman rule, so there would have been troops of Roman soldiers tromping through the streets maintaining Roman law and order.
Definitely not Peace on Earth. And yet we say this at Christmas “Peace to All Men”. Jesus did come to bring Peace but he wasn’t born into it. Just like my blackbird, Jesus was born into chaos. But if we are serious about sharing peace this season then we can get a really good start by listening to Jesus’s words “love one another”. It’s really quite simple. Peace isn’t about our circumstance or surroundings but how we respond to our circumstances and treat others.
As we say goodbye to 2021 peace would not be a word to describe a Pandemic ruled year. There is still confusion, fear and anxiety born from not knowing what’s going to happen. But just like Mary who trusted God to come through for her and just like my blackbird who sits peacefully in my Pomegranate tree, Peace can be ours. So dear readers I do wish you Peace on earth this Christmas, despite our present world problems and I pray that you will know Gods love through family, friends and neighbours this Christmas.
God Bless you all,
from Sue Hodge