Thought for the Week by Father Michael Teader

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We have seen in the news recently, memories of an event that took place in the First World War. For several hours the two sides informally agreed on a truce. The shelling ceased and all was silent.

We have seen in the news recently, memories of an event that took place in the First World War. For several hours the two sides informally agreed on a truce. The shelling ceased and all was silent.

The soldiers on one side sang a Christmas carol – soon this was repeated from the other side.

Enemies remembered their common humanity as they tries to escape the reality of war. Such is the power of Christmas.

For a few moments the peace and harmony must have seemed unreal. If we look at the classic paintings on religious Christmas cards everything looks so clean, colourful and peaceful but in reality the birth of our Saviour took place in dirty, run down and draughty surroundings – the last place to bring a child into the world. So are the Christmas card pictures unrealistic?

In a way – yes. But in another way, a more important way, the paintings have it right. They see beyond the grimy trappings to a deeper reality – the coming into the world of God’s Son: The Prince of Peace.

In the midst of war, famine and every other kind of bad news, we celebrate Christmas because we see more deeply. We glimpse, beyond the troubles of our world, the love of God, a God who sent his Son to save us.

Like those soldiers we see beyond the wreckage and the pain and sing carols.

We celebrate a deep-down joy that refuses to be extinguished because it comes from God himself.

Peace, love and joy be with you.