Beloved in the Lord in the Diocese of Harare
Happy Christmas to you all wherever you are! The year 2016 has been tumultuous in many different part of the world. In Zimbabwe we have had more than our fair share of the many debilitating challenges threatening our lives such as the effects of the El Nino induced drought, the effects of the prevailing harsh economic situation we are facing and fear of the unknown. In many countries north of us there are the challenges of war, hunger, disease and human migration. In Europe there is the great crisis of refuges both economic refugees and refugees caused by wars in Syria and Iraq. Here we are, celebrating the birth of the prince of peace when many are experiencing war. It is a season of joy peace and happiness but one that is marred by pain, frustration and anxiety because people can’t get their money from the banks to enable them to travel and celebrate with friends and relatives.
My brothers and sisters I want you to remember that the joy surrounding the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, from Mary and Joseph, the holy angels in heaven to the shepherds in the fields watching their flock and the wise men from the East soon turned into pain, struggle for survival and finally being refugees in Egypt for the Holy family (Matt. 2:13-15). You have to believe it that the Son of God became an infant refugee in Egypt on the African continent. God bless Africa for providing home to Son of God and his parents. The Son of God at a tender age experienced African hospitality and protection. But today many of Africa’s children have been forced to be refugees in other continents because of war, persecution (both political and religious), harsh economic conditions prevailing in many of our countries. In some cases those unable to leave their countries and seek a better future for themselves and their families have died or have been driven out of their homes by pain, hunger, domestic violence and other forms of violence etc.
While we joyfully celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us remember and pray for the thousands who are doing so in pain. May the spirit of African hospitality that provided a home and protection to the holy family prevail among us this Christmas so that we too may be hospitable to others in pain and less fortunate than ourselves. Remember that God did not abandon the holy family or zoom them out of this world of pain but he was with them through it all. He will equally be with us all through the pain and struggles of this world.
I take this opportunity to wish you all a joyful and peaceful Christmas and a happy and fulfilling New Year full of hope, love and caring for each other.
Deep peace to you all,
The Rt. Revd. Chad N. Gandiya
Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Harare