Peace on Earth
One of the most quoted scriptures during Advent is the message the angles carried to shepherds tending their flocks outside Bethlehem: Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace good will toward men."
Two thousand years later, while some still hope for peace, it seems an elusive concept in so much of the world. And where violence doesn't shadow the hope of peace, the busy-ness of life, angst, greed, and what-have-you tends to steal the peace that is ours for the asking. We must only seek it in the One whose coming was wrapped in its message. Too often, in many churches, we don't even bother with the hope for peace, much less in being peacemakers as is found in the Beatitudes, because we feel somehow the reality of sin and our disconnection with those who do not profess Christ, provides a waiver from our responsibility to this world. A world that needs to know the peace of God....I should hope that we're not so broken a vessel to carry that message.
For a few generations the words "Peace on Earth" hung near the top of my grandfather's barn. His family, who left the Amish church, did not know war until he served in the Pacific theater during World War II. Was it any wonder after his service ended that he should have that message proclaimed from on high? When the farm left the family, my mom noticed the words had disappeared from the barn, so she stopped and asked the owner if he had kept them. He did, and they found their way to our home.
About 10 years ago we used the words, and our kids, to send the message of "peace on earth" on our Christmas cards. When we arrived in the country, I think my mom thought they'd be placed on our barn. Instead, we had the perfect place for them inside our home and they stand as a constant reminder of what our responsibility is in this world: agents of peace, peacemakers, as we've been called to. I think that means giving up our rights, or the need to be right, in so many circumstances. I think it means finding ways to get people talking with each other, to work toward compromise and understanding. It means speaking less, and listening more, and being more inclusive in how we go about doing our Father's will.
So, in this week leading up to Christmas, let's determine to find an inward peace and contentment and then in the year before us, let's commit to being peacemakers, healers if you will, to the broken world around us.