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PEACE OR PIECE?
“…Peace, goodwill towards all...”
The spreading of peace and goodwill to all is the principal message of the Christmas season.
Although this divine invitation to “peace on earth” surrounds us; it continues to amaze me how so many people find it difficult to embody the essence of the message of peace for themselves. As a result, these people can shift from sharing with others the “peace of Christ”, to broadcasting a “piece of their own mind”. Instead of making life a veritable heaven on earth, they can make it a living hell.
Jesus (still the reason for the season) said, “Blessed are the peacemakers…” But there are those squabbling people who insist on declaring, “Blessed are my opinions…” Have you ever tried to tell someone who knows-it-all something? It doesn’t work. They are legends in their own mind! These stubborn and thoughtless people take pleasure in majoring in minors and are frequently people of misguided conviction who specialize in making mountains out of molehills. They are the kind of people Jesus described as being “blind guides, who will strain out a gnat while swallowing a camel.”
Consider the following example. Back in 1849, one major church congregation was split by controversy when it was proposed to print music along with the words of hymns, in a revised hymnal. Up to this time words only were printed. Records of the original church reveal that a splinter group formed their own congregation. Complained one dissenter: “Anybody with common sense ought to know that it will not help the voice, to look when you sing upon those things which you call keys and bars, with black and white tadpoles, some with their tails up, and some with their tails down, decorated with black flags and trying to crawl through the fence. It is all the work of the devil.” How tragic! Someone actually believing that hymnals incorporating music with words...was evil!
What seems just as sad in our day, are some of our divisive and prejudicial attitudes over non-redemptive issues of the Christmas holiday. These can range from unease over Santa Claus, to the placement of nativity scenes in public places, to what sentiment we choose to use (Happy Holiday or Merry Christmas).
Let me remind you that God is big enough to take care of Himself. The Spirit of Christ in Christmas doesn’t need to be defended – it just needs to be proclaimed peaceably, gently and passionately to all. People of conviction who lack the graces of peacemaking are dangerous. Just ask any terrorist.
Now, I said all that to say this – please let’s not make Christmas a war zone; let’s make it a peace conference. The old gospel message is still relevant today, “For unto you this day…is born a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
This Christmas season, do God, yourself, and the world a favor and cease bickering. Instead join in heralding, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards all!” After all, isn’t that the Divine message that we are called to share anyway? Those around you will be glad you did.
As always, see you next time and have a great day...