Turn on the news lately and it doesn't make for pleasant viewing.
The shootings, rapes and upheaval across the globe laid on the mind of the Rev Dr Marjorie Lewis, prompting the woman of God to deliver a message of peace at the Jamaica Defence Force's annual carol service at Up Park Camp on Tuesday. President of the United Theological College of the West Indies, Lewis sought to ease the minds of the gathering by telling them to embrace the power of peace.
"We are in a world where many things happen to make us anxious," she admitted. There were so many disturbing things on the news. We may be tempted to say, 'How long, O Lord? When will peace come for all?" But Lewis asked for patience.
"The seeds of peace that are planted in this nation and the world, are growing, and one day will be revealed," she said.
Lewis' message complemented the soulful service, which mixed traditional carols like What Child Is This, with Jamaican Christmas selections like Ernie Smith's All For Jesus (Jesus Come Today). Being a family affair, servicemen and women brought their spouses and children to bask in the good tidings and joy of the evening that would have warmed the hearts of even the most strident Grinch.
Lewis opined that we are called as individuals to exercise the power of peace, and to cultivate within us the power of love.
"(A power) that is possible and make it possible for us to want to see the good of all, including our enemies," she said. "We are called ... to live lives of integrity, and to show impartiality and fairness to both great and small." She opined this culture of peace makes it possible for us to respect and serve those who are despised and on the margins of society.
"Those who nobody nuh count," she said. Lewis said this would help us to exercise patience and self-control even when tested severely.
Acting Chief of Defence Staff Brigadier Rocky Meade said the carol service was one event that would close out a busy but productive year for the army, as it celebrated its 50th year. The JDF hosted a number of activities including the highly successful Jamaica Military Tattoo 2012 in June.