You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
Well, was Father Christmas good to you this year? Did you get all the socks and handkerchiefs you need for the coming year? Are you stocked up with nice warm woolly jumpers? Perhaps like us your bookshelves are groaning at the prospect of even more books being stacked on them – yes Granddad and Grandma are avid readers!
In the next few days we will celebrate the visit of a group of astrologers to the baby Jesus. They probably came from Babylon since that was a seat of astral learning at the time. To them the appearance of an unusually brilliant star was associated with the Jewish expectation of a Messiah, since a stellar phenomenon of this kind was often connected with the birth of some notable person. Thus it is not surprising to find them making the journey to investigate their theory, bringing precious gifts with them.
One of the gifts I received this Christmas was a slim volume entitled “Prayer for the Day on Peace”. Peace in the whole world! Now what a wonderful gift that would be! It would be a gift more precious than all the gold, frankincense and myrrh that ever existed. But more to the point this is what God wants for the world He created, that it should live in His image.
Surely it is just a forlorn hope? Well, maybe but we use an enormous amount of the world’s resources to protect our own privileged position; to defend ourselves against one another. Suppose all that was diverted to peaceful purposes. Would that not be sufficient to make the prophecy of Isaiah come true?
He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Isaiah 2:4(NIV)
Further on in that Book God showed Isaiah His view of the world and then asked the question “Whom shall I send?” Remember Isaiah’s response, “Here am I, Lord send me.” John takes up that theme in his gospel:
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:8 (NIV)
Of course, we cannot bring peace to the world overnight; we cannot solve all its problems, but we can start somewhere – in our own families, in our own communities, in our own countries.
Will you commit to work for peace in the world this year?
Are you ready to say with Isaiah, “Here am I, Lord send me.”?
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time work for a number of years