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Peace on Earth; Good Will to All, Especially the Helpless and the Harassed
The Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo
CEYLON 081222-1
December 22, 2008

A Christmas Message for 2008

[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon] This year, Christmas brings mixed feelings. All around a sense of helplessness, sorrow and hard questions prevail. What hope does the birth of Christ bring those trapped and threatened in the Vanni? Will there ever be economic stability for those trapped and threatened in poverty and want? What respect is there for those trapped and threatened by social prejudice and suspicion because of their ethnicity? When will the majority of our people trapped and threatened within an insensitive and selfish political culture experience dignity and freedom?

For too long, sustainable peace has eluded us.
For too long, dignity, stability, and security have been denied us.
For too long, appeals for integrity, impartiality and non-violence have been ridiculed.
For too long, the helpless and the harassed have been crushed by our own.
For too long, the drive for power designed by a few has benefited the few.
For too long, war has been romanticised and its horrors hidden.
For too long, it seems that God has hidden God's face from us.

And yet, in spite of the gloom, Christmas reminds us that God is in our very midst to reconcile, transform and to save. Just as God was present in the vulnerable baby born to become the Prince of Peace, so God is also present in all our strivings for justice, reconciliation and freedom, no matter how insignificant, tentative or insecure these initiatives may seem. This is why Christmas brings the promise of hope and renewal. As we reflect on God's humble intervention for the liberation of humankind through Jesus, we are encouraged to never give up but to keep pressing on for reconciliation and peace. Change will come if we remain faithful.

So, may the peace of the Lord descend upon us this Christmas as we turn away from our selfish and oppressive ways.
May the peace of the Lord descend upon us as we forgive and bless one another.
And may the peace of the Lord descend upon us as we journey together towards peace and goodwill here on earth in our beloved Sri Lanka.

With Peace and Blessings to all.

Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera
Bishop of Colombo
11th December 2008