A story to begin. There was a king who offered a prize to the artist who could depict a painting of “perfect peace”.
Many pictures were submitted of pastoral forests and sunlit mountains. But as the king looked them over his eye landed on a picture also of mountains, but these mountains were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which rain fell and lightning was visible and down the side of the mountain rumbled a frothing waterfall, which did not look peaceful at all.
But when the king looked closely, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing out of a rock. And there in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat a mother bird on her nest of eggs. This is the one, said the king, because peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, struggle or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of these things and remain calm in your heart.
As we prepare for the birth of the Christ Child, we are living in a time of noise, struggle and hard work as we do our part to keep each other safe. In the midst of this, perhaps the best gift we can give is to remain calm in our hearts and share our gratitude with front line workers who are doing all they can to ensure we have more Christmases to celebrate in the coming years.