As you read this Christmas message, the General Election will soon be upon us. Our anxiety about the future direction of our country and the sense of uncertainty is building. It’s not a comfortable way to start the Christmas season, yet there are some significant parallels to the time when Jesus was born. The Christmas story happened in turbulent times.

The Jewish people wanted to be free from the occupation of the Romans and they were frustrated because they were voiceless. The national census, which took place at that time was used to ensure everyone was paying taxes. It served to emphasise how disenfranchised the Jewish people were.

It was into the chaos of two thousand years ago, that God chose to enter into history in the person of Jesus. God’s tendency is to show up in times of trouble. He is not waiting for a serene moment, but is God with us in all the uncertainty that life brings. And the message of peace that the angels declare is not a peace that removes us from the reality of our lives, but a peace that comes to us where we are – not an absence but a presence.

Jesus is God with us, and it is his presence that continues to bring peace into the hardest of situations, on both a personal and national level. Our challenge this Christmas is to be able to hear his message within the cacophony of noise. More than in any other recent Christmas, this message of peace needs to be heard, so that we can know God’s
presence with us, giving us strength and vision to play our part in being peacemakers in these turbulent times.

O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.

Caroline Halmshaw