A few years ago I was lucky enough to visit the Holy Land – and saw all the usual sights and sights. It was my second visit; my previous visit had been fifteen years earlier. One of the things that struck me was the wall that divides Bethlehem and Jerusalem; the West Bank barrier or Armistace Line. There are many tales of how the Palestinians have been separated from their livelihood, and its impact is there for all to see. Pope Francis stopped and prayed there in May last year. Whilst there I bought a crib that reflects the reality of that situation.
Walls are not just physical things – we all build them around ourselves for protection of some sort. They separate us – and they can stop us from reaching out, perhaps because we are afraid or jealous or perhaps we are just feeling mean-spirited and don’t want to give of ourselves. To be true stewards we need to be on a journey of self-awareness and to begin with ourselves. We need to look at the walls we have built that stop us from being Christ to one another. To really appreciate the incarnation, the birth of Christ in me this year, I hope to take time to look at the walls I have erected and try to take them down. A focus for this last short time left in Advent. Only then can I accept the truth and message of Christmas and that radical gift from God that we have in Jesus.