Space for peace

IN the wintry dusk of December as the sky fills with sparkling stars, we wait for the Christmas star as we always have - with hope. Today in our vastly changed world where technology is beginning to remake old, established ways of living and doing, we behold, among the other stars in the firmament, the modern world's Christmas star, the satellite. This is a new symbol of hope, for the main function of the satellites orbiting in space far above us and invisible to human eyes on Earth is to extend communication. And closer communication is what all men of goodwill believe will bring people everywhere together in peace: peace among the worlds of the Muslim, the Christian, the Judaic, and countless other faiths; peace within countries where civil war rages; and peace within human hearts the world over, no matter what their race, color, or creed may be.

It was the Christmas star blazing in the December night long ago that drew the Wise Men to a newborn child they saw as a symbol of peace on earth and goodwill among men. In our journey from that event two millenia ago, we have not lost the hope, born in those who believed in the promise of the Christmas star, that man could make his world a better place for all.

In the scientific and technologically dominated world of today, the simple tools made by man for simple tasks have been vastly augmented by such marvels of inventive genius and ingenuity as the telephone, television, computers, and great aircraft which span oceans and circle the globe in less than a day. These are all means of communication which, when they bring news of such tragedies as the famine in Ethiopia, also provide the means to send swift help and merciful relief.

As we look up into 1984's December sky and see the dancing brilliance of its stars, we can have higher hopes than ever that their companions from earth, the satellites, may bring the human community together in closer bonds of understanding. While most of us may not understand the principles that enable a satellite to convey messages and pictures from space to Earth, we know that it does. It was the same with our ancient ancestors when they gazed at the Christmas star. They did not know the principles of astronomy, perhaps, but they recognized and rejoiced in the star's message of hope.

We still respond joyfully to that message even while modern man extends the spiritual symbolism of the Christmas star to the bright new hopes offered to all humankind by the advent of the age of the satellite.

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