I love Christmas. I love the way time seems to stand still for a few hours while we gather with family and loved ones. I love the games, the carols, and the food. Nothing makes me happier than having our children all together; listening to their laughter and watching them savour this season. Through family and friends, through my husband and children, I know that I have been richly blessed.
But this is not a happy season for everyone. When I look beyond the happy celebrations that I anticipate in the coming days, I see a world torn by pain, conflict and injustice. This week in my medical practice I’ve had poignant conversations with people facing depression, disease or discord. As I experience the most joyful parts of this Christmas celebration, it is mixed with a deep awareness of those who face hurt and hardship right now.
My prayer this Christmas is for peace. Peace in our homes. Peace in our workplaces. Peace in a world where the concept seems impossible. In my own small circle of influence, I want to be a channel of that peace. This desire is beautifully expressed in the poem attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. This is my Christmas prayer.
- “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
- Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
- Where there is injury, pardon;
- Where there is discord, harmony;
- Where there is error, truth;
- Where there is doubt, faith;
- Where there is despair, hope;
- Where there is darkness, light;
- And where there is sadness, joy.
- O Master, grant that I may not so much seek
- To be consoled as to console;
- To be understood as to understand;
- To be loved as to love.
- For it is in giving that we receive;
- It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
- And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”