The world around us is filled with both the joyful adverts, films, and songs of the festive season and also the sombre echoes of conflict and pain coming into our homes through the media. In the midst of this paradox, in the Christmas season we are called to reflect on the message of Christmas—a message of hope, peace, and love, a message shared by Christians, Jews and Muslims and especially Freemasonry.
The world has known more than its fair share of strife, and the echoes of war seem to drown out the carols that should be filling the air. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the darkness that surrounds us. Yet Christmas is a reminder that even in the bleakest of times, a glimmer of divine light can pierce through the shadows.
The story of the birth of Jesus Christ, celebrated on Christmas Day, was a moment of profound significance. In a humble stable, amidst the chaos of the world, a child was born who would bring light to the darkest corners of human existence. The story of Christmas is one of hope born out of despair, of peace breaking through the noise of conflict, and of love that transcends the barriers of hatred.
On Christmas day as we exchange gifts and share meals with our loved ones; -if we are fortunate to have family or friends nearby, we should not forget those who are experiencing the harsh realities of war. It is in these moments of collective pain that our faith is tested, and our response becomes a testament to the true meaning of Christmas.
The Christmas story challenges us to be agents of peace no matter what our religious beliefs, in a world torn apart by violence,. It encourages us to seek ways to extend love and compassion to those who are suffering, to be the bearers of a message that transcends borders and conflicts. In the face of war, let us be peacemakers, striving to bring about the harmony that the angels sang about on that holy night. As we look ahead to the new year, uncertain of what it may bring, let us carry the Christmas spirit with us.
May the light that shone in Bethlehem guide our path in the days and months to come. In the face of global challenges, personal struggles, and the pains of the world, let us be beacons of hope, radiating the love that was first expressed in the form of a vulnerable child in a manger. Let us also recommit ourselves especially as Freemasons to working towards a world where peace prevails over conflict, where love triumphs over hatred, and where the light of hope dispels even the deepest darkness.
Words from the Carol
“It “came upon the Midnight clear”
But with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring; –
Oh hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing!
Best wishes and Blessings for Christmas and the New Year.
Julian Ward and Rev Jon Whalley, Provincial Grand Chaplains