A Christmas dream of peace, happiness and unity
Last night I'd the strangest dream. I was transported in heart and mind to a city of great peace and happiness. There, all worries faded away.
A voice said: "Walter, I've given you this privileged respite so that you can return and speak to those around you who have a special place in my heart.
"See, there is an atmosphere of great love. In this city you would encounter the miracle of people from every land, making things better for each other. Here, colour of skin, membership of class and variety of beliefs are not causes of hostility but are incentives to break down ancient divisions. People are profoundly enriched; their love for one another is deepened.
"Families go out of their way to welcome the stranger, tend the sick and look after all in need. No one feels excluded, rejected or uncared for.
"The Jewel in the Crown here is the children. From nursery school onwards, they learn and have fun together. Though from different backgrounds, they accommodate each other's strengths and weaknesses.
"Through sport, they integrate as team members. They carry these skills into the rest of their lives.
"Bear with me if I express regret at the failure of the City Fathers to work together for the good of all. For centuries, they knew only the power of division, dissension and opposition on the basis of race, religion, class and politics. To every positive proposal, there was a pernicious response.
"Time came when great change swept through the city. No one knows why. Did people max out on perpetual conflict? Did the dissensions of the past get lost in a fog of complexity? Did the long war lead its proponents into areas where they dare not go without fear of self-destruction? Or did people begin to hope that happiness and love could be possible?
"The City Fathers began talking to each other. At first they were fearful, but courage triumphed. The public landscape was transformed, almost as though the darkness of the past had not happened. Now the city is an inspiration!"
The voice concluded: "Walter, you will return from this dream. Tell everyone what you have seen. This is my gift to you and them this Christmas."
CANON WALTER LEWIS