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Thought for the weekend: Can we have peace on earth?

By Canon Walter Lewis

The Christmas season is very much with us. It is a season of joy, colour, warmth and goodwill as we prepare to celebrate again the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem. It is a time of giving and receiving gifts, of sharing, love and goodwill. It is a time of excitement and wonder for the children: and hope for the future for all.

At Christmas, we remember that Jesus came to earth as the Prince of Peace - a peace based on the secure foundation of justice and love for every person. Most important is the hope of a new attractive world brought to us by the infant of Bethlehem. Jesus is the true hope of all mankind. He is the Light of the World.

At this time, there are many difficult and challenging things that impact forcefully upon our daily lives and cry out for attention and resolution. In these islands, thousands of homes have been flooded, bringing the prospect of a very different Christmas this year for many families. There are hundreds of thousands of refugees displaced from their homes and dispersed around the Middle East and Europe, many at the mercy of the cold and rain.

Then, there is the complex and vicious conflict in Syria and Iraq, involving Islamic State/Da'esh and extending its reach to Europe and America. Is it not the case that many people turn away when they read, see or hear of the next deplorable barbaric atrocity of this organisation? Their crimes are beyond human imagining.

Hence the unanimous adoption of Resolution 2249 three weeks ago by the United Nations Security Council - testifying to the truth that virtually the whole world stands against the cruel and unspeakable acts of Isis/Da'esh. Their crimes against humanity, can never be defended by any kind of religious reasoning.

Here, the international community has spoken with one voice. Its member states must take all necessary steps to discharge their supreme political duty to protect the lives of their citizens. The wholesale and wanton slaughter of innocent people by Isis /Da'esh must be stopped.

In this Christmas season, we remember Jesus of Nazareth born in Bethlehem, the founder of Christianity, and also revered as a great prophet in the Islamic religion.

For Christian and Muslim, Jesus is the person of peace, love and compassion sent by God.

Belfast Telegraph


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