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The General's 2021 Christmas Message

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Colossians 1:17 NIV).

What a year 2021 has been! In these past 12 months our world has continued to face up to the challenge and reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, dealing with illness and death, as well as recovery strategies and vaccination programmes. In contrast there was the welcome relief of the Olympic and Paralympic Games which provided positive engagement, something to enjoy and an opportunity to celebrate our countries’ achievements. Of course, we have also witnessed both natural and man-made disasters and tragedies – wildfires in different countries, the assassination of a president, hurricanes and storms – each presenting significant challenges. In recent days the Taliban has retaken control of Afghanistan, with people fleeing the country, concerns about the education of women, the potential return to the ways of former regimes and the loss of any semblance of democracy.

In such tumultuous times where, or to who, do we turn? Hebrews 13:8 tells us that we turn to Jesus, who is the same ‘yesterday and today and for ever’; whilst Colossians 1:17 describes him as the one in whom ‘all things hold together’; and Revelation 22:13 as ‘the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End’. We need to turn to the one who is wiser than we are, more compassionate than we are, more powerful than we are, who is both transcendent yet with us, and who is present in the midst of the tumult and chaos with its resultant personal cost because, as we read in Psalm 23 and in Matthew 11 verse 28, he invites us to rest. If ever there is a time to turn to Jesus it is at Christmas, when we pause to remember and celebrate his birth, his incarnation and his becoming Immanuel (God with us).

What does all this mean? It means there is hope! It means we are not on our own! It means we have someone who can restore our souls when we are weary; someone who can give us rest when we are tired; someone who can provide an eternal perspective when the immediate is all-consuming; someone who holds us and our world together when we and it are falling apart. That truly is something worth celebrating this Christmastime. Why would we not want to get to know someone like Jesus?

If your relationship with Jesus has been neglected for a while, Christmas represents an opportune time for it to be reconnected, reignited. And if you don’t know him already, Christmastime is also an opportunity to meet Jesus for the first time – to invite him into your heart and life as saviour and friend.

Commissioner Rosalie joins me in wishing you a Happy Christmas and God’s blessings during this holy season.

Brian Peddle,

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