Psalm 107:23-24 – They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. (KJV)
We all have very personal experiences relating to the Christmas season; mine is associated with canned peaches. In Britain during World War II, food was in very short supply. As the Christmas season neared, however, the government would release a few cans of imported peaches to every family as a special Christmas treat. These treasures were carefully stored away, waiting for the right moment. As our family had dessert only on Sunday, usually consisting of a very small mound of rice pudding, the sheer anticipation of those peaches waiting, ready to be eaten, was beyond description. On Boxing Day, most of the family would gather together and each present their tins of peaches to be emptied into a large bowl. Everyone was served a carefully measured amount in a small dish. As a child, I can remember spooning a very small piece of peach and syrup into my mouth, and allowing the peach to swim inside my mouth like a tiny fish in that delectable, sweet syrup. Oh, what joy!
Today, I still enjoy the memory of that treat, but through the eyes of an adult, this memory takes on a new dimension. The pleasures of that treat are lost in wonder and admiration for the courage of the men, many of them teenage boys, of the merchant navy who risked their lives that I, with others of our island home, might have the pleasure of a dish of canned peaches. These boys, who quickly became men, experienced the words of the psalmist:
Psalm 107:25-26 – For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. (KJV)
We can envision the waves, pounding over the decks of the ships, together with the bitterly cold winds of the North Atlantic. However, the battle against nature became insignificant as these men contemplated other dangers, which lurked beneath the black, heaving waters, waiting to strike. What courage! May we never forget this price for peace!
Prayer: Gracious Father, may we endeavour in some small way to spread peace in our world. We thank You for the gift of Your Son, who is the epitome of peace, and who paid the price that we may obtain a steadfast inner peace regardless of the circumstances in which we live. We pray in Your Son's name, Christ Jesus. Amen.