Let peace, joy and hope reign free this Christmas

Norfolk County Council Chaplain, Rev Dr Liviu Barbu, says let peace, joy and hope reign free again this Christmas.


Norfolk County Council Chaplain, Rev Dr Liviu Barbu, says let peace, joy and hope reign free again this Christmas.
The fast approach of Christmas fills us with the usual joyfulness and, I dare to say, with renewed hope in the face of so many surprises, adversities and challenges presented within the year coming to a close. Who would have imagined, at the beginning of it, how much our world would change within less than a single year?
The joy of Christmas rises high above the noise of preparations, of gift hunting and wrapping up. It is something sublime, coming to us from ancestral times, which equally delights and escapes our immediate attention and understanding. It comes to us as a fascinating children's story, untiringly told, again and again, every year. It has the fragrance of old, of grandparents and parents sitting together joyfully, sharing stories and gifts around the fireplace. There is perhaps no child or adult without some nice Christmas memories to warm up one's soul. Christmas has that atmosphere which is able to display the best in humanity.
This Christmas is also very different. It makes us appreciate what we already have, or have had until recently and perhaps had not fully realised it. This year we learnt to appreciate the ordinary things in life and not to take anything for granted. This year was one in which we wished not for more things, but one of appreciation of what we already had and could no longer have or enjoy fully.
The friendship of our relatives, neighbours and friends is worth the world when that is not readily there. The touching, embracing, chatting face-to-face and kissing one another, of our older parents and grandparents, has become such a precious thing in this day and age. Seeing the face of the other, a smile through a face mask, only guessed by the light and gleam in one's eyes is nonetheless a sign of hope.
Our hearts go out to all the people who are not able to enjoy all of those blessings and to those who are no longer with us in this earthly battle, leaving an empty space in our hearts and an empty seat at our Christmas dinner table, but who, I undoubtedly believe, look down to us with the same kindness and love.
As I said, it is a time to be grateful and also generous. Grateful to the people serving with grace, often silently, our daily needs, grateful for the health we have or seek to balance out, for every kind and generous action, gesture or word, received from the other, which makes our lives lighter and daily chores more bearable.
In a world torn apart by difficulties of all kinds, any small kind gesture could change and light up our immediate world. Let us all be vectors of peace, joy and hope in the midst of those we love and care for, our families, our friends and our world, wherever we are. The vibration of joy and hope will thus travel from person to person, from house to house, from country to country, and will bring peace and light to the whole world, changing it for better, at least for a season, for the season of Christmas. There is no barrier love cannot go over or under. It will, sooner or later, be the condition of all humankind, united in its aspirations, including all people, including the animal and natural world. Love will surely win.
To all people we live or work with, or think of, close and afar - may we all enjoy this blessed time at Christmas and at the threshold of a new, and hopefully much better year!
Love, peace and every good wish from the Chaplaincy at Norfolk County Council!
Pictured above is the Nativity by the children of Sts Philothea & Bede Parish Sunday School, the Romanian Orthodox Church in Norwich & East Anglia.

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Published: 21/12/2020