Bethlehem has a population of about 30,000 people. Mostly Muslim, they are surrounded by a recently completed 20-foot-high prison wall. On a day like today, a young Muslim mother waits for 37 minutes at midmorning at a military checkpoint in the wall. As she approaches the Israeli soldier at the iron gate to Jerusalem, she holds her smiling 6-month-old son up for inspection. After questioning her and photographing her hand print, the soldier allows her to pass.
This presentation of her child is a distortion of the presentation of Jesus by Mary and Joseph in the great temple of Jerusalem to dedicate his life to God. In this 2013th year of the Lord, this Christmas is dedicated to the nonviolent peace of Christ by each of us loving God and our neighbor.
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Intermarriage, currently discouraged and prohibited between distant relatives and neighbors descended from Abraham, will produce more than peace. It will produce love. Love will produce children who will become peacemakers and they will be called the children of God.
This is more than prophecy in the face of growing unrest and man-made obstacles. A papal trip to Jerusalem, the City of Peace, for peace in the Holy Land has been scheduled for May. This peaceful trip will not be a mere symbolic gesture.
Peace, the Prince of Peace, is a person. He is who we all want to be, peacemakers. Most agree that the two-state solution is the key to peace: two flags, two nations united under God, conceived and established through peace, with peace and in peace, with liberty and justice for all. But, we want more than peace. We want love. Everyone of us wants to be blessed with love and allowed to conceive peacemakers who will be called the children of God.
George E. Bedingfield