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Our fellow Anglicans in the Diocese of Jerusalem describe the region in which they live as the Land of the Holy One. 

This year in the few months leading up to Christmas, we have been taken to that land through our television screens because of the terrible things happening there. 

The events we have witnessed seem to be a very long way from the peace and goodwill which were hailed by the angelic hosts in the telling of the Christmas story in Luke’s Gospel. 

Yet if we pull the lens back from the stable where Jesus was born, we see a troubled land. 

For decades the Jews had been under the heel of various regional imperial powers. Despite some periods of self-rule, it was now the turn of the Romans to govern them. 

Even the immediate events leading up to Jesus being born in Bethlehem were the result of imperial power. A census had been called and everyone was to return to their home region to register. 

As far as we can tell, society was fractured between different groups — the Roman-supporting Herodians, the Roman-hating Zealots and all positions in between.

Occasionally, a political hero would arise to try to throw off the imperial yoke and there would be a crack down. Both the guilty and the innocent would be caught in the crossfire. 

It was into this unstable and dangerous environment that God chose to come in Christ with a message of peace and goodwill. 

It was into this place of uncertainty and pain that the hope was physically born into the world. 

It is easy to say that Christ is still in the midst of the conflict in his land today. The truth is that it is the case, through the hands, feet, and voices of those who bring help and comfort in these hard times.  

One of the groups doing this is made up of our brothers and sisters from the Diocese of Jerusalem. Please pray for them as they seek to be agents for peace in the Land of the Holy One.  

May God bless you and yours during this holy season, 
Archbishop David

Photo captions
1.  Nativity scene (2008), Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs, Cambridge, England. (Thorvaldsson/Wikimedia Commons)

2.  Destroyed buildings in Gaza. Dec. 6, 2023. While this photo is very recent, the violence and upheaval in this part of the world have been going on since Biblical times. (Tasnim News Agency/Wikimedia Commons)


Kevin Mann 2 months ago

Thank you Archbishop David Edwards for this timely and grounded Christmas message. I needed to be reminded that Goodness, “Godness” with a capital G, is active in this world of war and starvation. May all those good people doing good work in seeking to be agents of peace, including those in the Diocese of Jerusalem, continue with courage and love.

Reverend Maria Shepherdson 2 months ago

Thank you for your wise words and encouragement- I have passed them on to the Jope Christian Trust, the NGO I am connected with, and the Staff and Children of the Lighthouse School in Gaza and christians sheltering in the Holy Child and St Proyprius Churches who stand in need of knowing that those soi far away are thinking of them and praying for them.

Janet Angle 2 months ago

The situation is getting harder for our brothers and sisters sheltering in the compounds of the two churches in Gaza. The orthodox and the Roman Catholic. 16 died in the bombing of a building in the Orthodox church, an elderly lady was killed by a sniper in the RC compound 2 weeks ago and this Sunday a mother and a daughter by a sniper on a nearby roof. The cars of the Christians were parked up for safety in the Lighthouse school playground and they were torched be a missile hit, They have little food now. Please keep these dear ones in your prayers

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