Dear sisters and friends of World Day of Prayer,
It's Advent and Christmastime again.
Strangely enough, this year I feel particularly close to the shepherds (Luke 2:8). They kept the flocks of sheep outside the city, in the fields, far from their warm houses and their cozy beds. Their job imposed this distance. I am reminded of the isolation into which our world has been thrown because of the pandemic, and I notice how the places of isolation have reversed. They were alone outside the cities while we are isolated inside our homes.
I imagine the shepherds gathering around a fire to warm themselves by sharing stories and songs. This image comes from the festive evenings around the campfires during my childhood. But today I think of the people who set out to find a safer country than their own. No campfire or warm home awaits them. And I notice how humans, in some places, are no longer able to take care of those who need it most. The shepherds protected the sheep by their presence. Our society is desperately looking for its shepherds, its protectors.
In our context today, I love to hear the words of the angel:
“Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”
Luke's Gospel, chapter 2, verses 10-12, in its two-thousand-year-old wisdom reminds us that we can abandon all our fears. For good news is proclaimed for each of us: the birth of a Savior. And much more (verse 14):
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
I hear in these words that an immense gift is given to us personally: the peace of God. It is up to us to receive the peace of God in our hearts. It is up to us to make it grow in our daily life, so that we can bring peace, justice and love into this world.
I wish that God's peace be in your heart, in your home, in your city, in your country and in the world.
Laurence Gangloff, WDPIC Chairperson
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