By Eletha Boute-Greig
Vicar of St. Ann’s By-the-Sea
One of my favorite Christmas poems is by Maya Angelou. It is entitled, Amazing Peace. In the beginning of the poem, she highlights some of the challenging realities of life. But then she reminds us that “Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters, Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope. And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air. The world is encouraged to come away from rancor, Come the way of friendship...”
“...come away from the rancor. Come the way of friendship...” Come the way of worship.
There is a moment in the Christmas service, almost at the very end, where the lights in the church are turned down to a dim. The light of the
crèche focuses on the scene, the manger with its ceramic animals that are surrounded by ceramic figures of a mother, a father and a child. It is
hard to catch the image of the face of God in a ceramic child. But replace that ceramic figure with the flesh and blood of a living, breathing
infant and for a few fleeting moments it is real, it is the face of God, the face that can carry one back to over 2,000 years ago, to a reality that impacted the world and has the power to transcend time and impact one’s life today.
“...In our joy, we think we hear a whisper. At first it is too soft. Then only half heard. We listen carefully as it gathers strength. We hear a sweetness. The word is Peace. It is loud now. It is louder. Louder than the explosion of bombs...”
In the fleeting moments of catching the face of God, there is another experience offered, that is, if one takes the time to breathe, to breathe in peace, the peace that passes all understanding and yet can become an invisible vapor that can fill one’s being. It too can be a fleeting moment
if one does not intentionally inhale God’s peace and soak in the moment that can give one’s life greater meaning.
“...We, Angels and Mortal’s, Believers and Non-Believers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at our world and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselves
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation.
Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.”
For unto us a child was born...born to give peace to our souls especially when the challenging realities of life feel overwhelming. But that peace was given not only so that we could experience God’s peace ourselves but also so that we could bring peace into the lives of others.
May the peace of the infant Christ be with you today and all of your tomorrows. Amen.