At the Midnight Mass around the world tonight the story of the birth of Jesus will be proclaimed in the words from the second chapter of the Gospel according to St Luke. We may stop to pause at verse 2 which refers to the census that Emperor Augustus decreed, that brought the Holy Family to Bethlehem:
"This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria".We in the Diocese in Europe remember that Syria borders with our diocese and lift up a special prayer for all caught up in the conflict there.
We also remember South Sudan which seems to be entering yet another period of civil strife. Many of the faithful of our diocese, members of the White Nile congregations in Finland, come from that country. We join our prayers with the White Nile congregation for all who are affected by the outbreak of violent conflict. Fr Amos Manga their priest is presently in the region and we pray for his own safety.
In the words of the Christmas from Common Worship Daily Prayer
Mighty God, the government is on your shoulders: guide the leaders of the nations and bring in your kingdom of justice and righteousness.
O lover of justice and peace, ruler of all the ages: be born in us today.