As we reflect on the story think also of the current reality in the Holy Land, and many children and families still suffering the effects of the war.

23 December.  Read, reflect, share, pray.  By the 20th December everything was ready and the children had been prepared. Busi and his mom were so excited they could hardly wait. They were leaving on 22nd December, but some of the children with parents or other companions had left earlier or later, depending on where in the world they were coming from and how they had to travel, by car, bus, train, plane, or ship.

On Christmas eve they all began to arrive in Israel. Jerusalem and Bethlehem are very close to each other but there is a big wall intended to divide the Israeli people in Jerusalem from the Palestinians in Bethlehem.  For this special occasion the government had even agreed to a pause in the war and to open the road to them all.  The mayors had put their differences aside and the two mayors had come to welcome the Peace Children from all over the world.  Boys and girls of all ages, shapes and sizes, all races and colours, first looked one another over, but soon found the friends they had been writing to. It was as if a vast network, a big web, was coming together. They held hands, they danced and sang, they played and laughed and cried too at times. There were a few fights, after all children will be children. 

Scripture: O Lord have mercy on me, be my helper. You have changed my mourning into dancing. I will thank you forever. Pope Francis:  Jesus is our faithful friend. He is with us on our journey.