By Not Known
In 1966, Simon and Garfunkel released the song, “7 O’clock News/Silent Night.” The carol, Silent Night, was sung but the background was filled with the shrill of police cars’ siren and the report on the news about various unrests, conflicts, and rumors of wars. It is one thing to hope for peace and quiet but the reality may be another altogether.
In my recent visit to Bethlehem, a huge Christmas tree stood at the manger square there with colourful lights hanging across the buildings surrounding it. In the midst of the Christmas atmosphere, the evening prayers said by a religious leader was blasting from loudspeakers around the square. The peace and quiet in the vicinity of the Church of Nativity was shattered.
At Nazareth, just within thirty metres from the Church of Annunciation, a huge sign announces condemnation on anyone who believes in any other god other than Allah.
Throughout our visit, soldiers with rifles and machine guns were everywhere. The atmosphere was always tense but life just went on as though nothing had happened. Every visitor to Jerusalem is reminded to pray for the peace there, not so much just for Israel but for the people living there today; Jews, Arabs or anyone who has a reason to be in Jerusalem.
When we sing our carols and read the passages that speak of our Saviour this Christmas day, remember the real peace our Saviour has brought through his birth into our lives. As we sing, we will no doubt hear a cacophony of noises generated by chaos, conflicts, unrests, rumors of wars, calamities, catastrophes and breakdowns. Peace is not just an absence of noise but the presence of real true peace within. It stems from an assurance that no matter what noise there may be outside, that the sovereign God is in control of everything.
In Isaiah 9:6, we are told that the child to be born is the Prince of Peace. Luke reported to us that the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.” Paul in his letter to the Romans assured his readers that “since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Rom 5:1). Peace is reserved for those who have the Prince of Peace and in whom God is pleased. In spite of the noise around us, we can have true peace when we know whom we believed and are persuaded that he is able to keep us in perfect peace.
May you find peace this Christmas!