Friday, 25 December 2009

Peace At Christmas

We have awoken to a white world this Christmas Day, not that it has snowed, but the frost is so thick that the world is truly white and sparkly at and around the Schloss.
Yesterday's journey back was uneventful, in spite of my fears of travel disruption, hardly unfounded since there had in general been travel chaos whilst I was over in the UK, people had been stranded in the tunnel, stranded on either side of the tunnel, runways closed, trains not running and people snowed and iced into cars.

I had been prepared for extra security and extra security there was, certainly at Heathrow, resplendent in its Christian holiday madness. But extra security in the most British way possible. Yes, every step was monitored and checked, and believe you me, I am not criticising that, but the ACTUAL security queue at Terminal three was knee deep in uniformed staff, pre-trained in officiousness, which was slightly marred for me by the young woman standing at the place where your checked hand luggage comes through, whining at a colleague,
'Oi, you gotta come and take over from me 'ere, I need to wee, I really need to wee,' ah yes, don't we all at all times and in all places.

YVR has become even more awesome. Previously, the ONLY thing Heathrow had over YVR, was that on arrival, EU and other passport holders were channelled into different queues and so entry through immigration was relatively smooth.
Now, YVR has actual machines for holders of Canadian passports or Permanent Resident cards. The card or passport is scanned, your customs declaration is scanned, and lo! You passeth through with no further ado. Much too early for your luggage to have arrived of course, but so efficient, and it must make the lines for non-residents shorter too.

At the Schloss, all is ready for the great feast of Christmas. Kev has been planning and preparing for days, anything that could be done in advance has been. The lights are up, the fridge and the liquor cabinet are full, everwhere is tidy.

So, at this time of Christmas for Christians, and for those who wish to celebrate it, I feel very blessed. I have been able to spend the last fortnight of Advent with part of my family, I have returned uneventfully to the rest of my family here, I have celebrated the Eucharist with others that I hold dear, and the world, for just this moment as I write, is still.

This Peace, the Peace that passes all understanding, isn't just a Christian ideal, it crosses the Faiths and beyond. At Christmas, I wish Peace for all my friends and family, for those I know and those I don't, for the living and those who have gone before. For all women and men and whoever else may be out there,
Peace, Salaam, Shalom.

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