‘Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth’

That’s the message of the angels; that’s the message of Christmas.

There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of peace around at the moment. The world is full of conflict and after the General Election we desperately need to move forward in unity and peace. What can be done?

When the shepherds heard the message of the angels they were filled with awe and wonder. When they worshipped the Christ child they realised that heaven had come down to earth. Maybe we need to recover their sense of awe and wonder if we are to get things in proportion and find peace the angels heralded.

‘The heavens declare the glory of God’. Indeed they do – even by their size. God is bigger than we can imagine, as is the Universe. If it were drawn to scale with the earth about the size of a pea, Jupiter would be some 300 yards away and the nearest star would be 10,000 miles away. Then there’s its beauty: the shepherds would have been able to enjoy the night sky without light pollution.

This world in all its beauty fills me with a sense of wonder. Perhaps the most wonderful thing of all are human beings. A new-born baby instils a sense of awe – and so it should, for we are made in the image of God.

If all these thoughts sounds a bit high-falutin, I don’t think they need to be. Appreciating the glory of God in the highest heaven can bring peace on earth and peace in our hearts. May it also lead to peace in our communities, our country and the world.

May you be filled with a sense of awe and wonder this Christmas as you contemplate the glory of the creation into which Christ was born to demonstrate God’s great love for you. May you be filled with his peace.

God bless you and a very Merry Christmas to you.

Bishop John