Rev Rosie writes
Twelfth Night, Epiphany, 6th January??. different names for the date that Christians remember the arrival of the wise men in Bethlehem to worship Jesus. After their visit, Joseph has a dream telling him to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt to escape what turns out to be a massacre of all the baby boys of 2 years and under.
Our television screens and newspapers remain full of details of violence and hateful crimes against humanity; we hear so much about the refugees fleeing from danger.
Tim and I visited Israel and Jordan whilst I was on my sabbatical. (We had a wonderful time and no doubt you will hear more about it in the months to come). Whilst we were in Jerusalem we met Canon Andrew White (the former Vicar of Baghdad). He spoke personally about the persecution of Christians in Iraq and the refugee camps in Jordan hat he visits which house people of all faiths, especially those fleeing the terrors of Syria . His organisation raises over ?1million per month to care for these people.
We also travelled around Galilee and visited the Golan Heights, overlooking Jordan, and heard the distant rumble of bombs and fighting in Syria, just north of where we were. Because of the tense situations on the Israeli/Jordanian/Syrian border, there were many Israeli fighter jets flying over Galilee and as we were enjoying a service of Holy Communion of the shore of Galilee we were so deafened that we had to pause for some while before continuing. Armed soldiers and police were a common sight in and around Jerusalem too.
All this was a good reminder that Mary and Joseph travelled to Bethlehem and lived under Roman occupation and it was into a tense environment that Jesus was born. Like many in our world he experienced the difficulties of fleeing for his life and becoming a refugee; he and his family no doubt appreciated all the help he received.
With all that is said about the refugees and the confusion of including them with the economic migrants trying to make the most of the situation, we can suffer from compassion overload. We may not be able to do much to help, but whatever help we can give to those genuinely in need will be appreciated.
My prayer for our world this year (2016) is for wisdom for the leaders of the nations to find a way for the nations to live in peace, even if we disagree about what is important in life and that individuals will stop taking things into their own hands with often indiscriminate terrorist attacks. May God bless us all and make us thankful for the peace that we enjoy.