Christmas Message 2016 from the Most Reverend Hannah Caroline Faal-Heim, Presiding Bishop of The Gambia, the Methodist Church The Gambia

Thursday, December 29, 2016

PEACE ON EARTH, GOODWILL AMONG PEOPLE

This is what the Angels proclaimed in the Gospel of Luke Chapter 2 verse 14 when they announced the birth of Jesus Christ to simple shepherds two thousand years ago, and we will hear this wonderful good news throughout the season of Christmas.

At Christmas, we recall the message of hope that comes from the birth of Jesus, the Son of the God. God in his love for the world is giving us hope and peace through the birth of his son.

His love, seen in Jesus, is the route of peace. For the prophet Isaiah in Chapter 9 verse 6 tells us the Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

If and when we welcome Jesus into our hearts and lives the love of Jesus reconciles us with God and with one another. Jesus’ love renews our relationships with God and with one another, so that as we love God with all our hearts and as we love our neighbors as ourselves, we are empowered to work for peace and to resist the temptation to hate others, and so we are able to dispel the darkness of aggression, violence, war and conflict.

The birth of Jesus cannot be separated from the message of love, reconciliation and forgiveness which is necessary for the entire world and especially at this time for The Gambia.

In Jesus Christ we have peace, extraordinary peace as we read in the Gospel of John Chapter 14 verse 27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives”. God wants to give us peace because he loves us.

The Angels’ song and message is still relevant and significant for us today. That is why we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Jesus the Son of God is the saviour of the whole world and of all people. He can save us today.

In the midst of fear, suspicion and turmoil around the world today, we remember that it is Jesus the son of god who gives us hope, no matter what our circumstances are. Whether people are fleeing from war and famine in their home country, Jesus is with them. Whether people have lost loved ones through old age, sickness, accident or violence, Jesus is with them. Whether people are afraid to lose their jobs and livelihood, Jesus is with them. No matter what struggles we face - Jesus Christ the Son of God is with us, giving us courage to endure and not lose hope.

We pray for those who have died in the nation and for their loved ones who grieve for them and miss them. Jesus is with them. We are called to rejoice with those who rejoice and to mourn with those who mourn.

We must continue in unceasing prayer with renewed strength and faith in God together. Jesus is with us. Jesus is the bringer of God’s peace, and the love of Jesus can create in us the goodwill to sustain our country The Gambia into a peaceful and prosperous future.

Jesus is God’s peace for us, and Jesus gives us the goodwill we need at this time. Let us continue to work and pray for peace. The love of Jesus inspires us to fear God in faithful obedience. The love of Jesus inspires us to work for peace. The love of Jesus inspires us to avoid altercations. The love of Jesus inspires us to show good manners and demonstrate kindness and generosity.

The love of Jesus inspires us to forgive anyone who may have wronged or hurt us. Inspired by the peace and goodwill of Jesus, let us together work for peace, reconciliation and forgiveness, with respect for one another, we have to stand up for and work for The Gambia and we must continue to dialogue with one another.

Let us continue to pray for the President and the President-Elect, that they show magnanimity and restraint, to exercise love and to work for peace, reconciliation and forgiveness.

We pray that the Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, grant all of us the ability to show respect, and exercise wisdom, so that The Gambia can go forward in peace and unity for the common good.

Women, work and pray for peace, for the sake of your children, and for the sake of all who live in The Gambia. Men, work and pray for peace, for the sake of your families and for the sake of all who live in The Gambia. Young people, work and pray for peace, for the sake of your future and for the sake of all who live in The Gambia.

All who live and work in Gambia, work and pray for peace, adhere to peace, enjoy peace, celebrate peace. Pray for all leaders across the world, and especially for the leaders of The Gambia, that they will work for peace. Pray for the nation and demonstrate peace and goodwill in your interaction with everyone.

The progress and development of the country must not be destroyed. Freedom and justice must prevail. We need fortitude, courage and resilience to overcome the challenges we face. We need patience and wisdom to make true progress. We need to serve others more than our own interests. We must go beyond party politics and personal desires as we pursue the peace of The Gambia. We, too, can be transformed by the good news of Christmas.

What the Angels said to the shepherds those many years ago, the Angel of God is also saying to us today: “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 Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord - Glory to God in the highest; peace on earth and goodwill among people!” (The Gospel of Luke Chapter 2 verse 14) _

I wish us all a very happy and peaceful Christmas.

God bless The Gambia. God bless you all. 

Source: Picture: Most Reverend Hannah Caroline Faal-Heim