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Friday, December 14, 2007

Peace

Prepare Ye

For Peace

I’ve decided to take my unsent Christmas cards that say “Peace on Earth, Good Will towards Men,” to the free bench this year. It hasn’t happened and won’t happen as long as the Earth and man in their present state exist. All the schemes of men, peace accords have not lasted for long. It is too hard to write an explanation on every card about why this has not happened since the angels predicted it to the shepherds at Jesus’ birth over two thousand years ago, so I’ll give them away.

I have had peace this week in between regular coughing bouts. With a second week of fever, I couldn’t think very clearly nor have energy to run around so it has been quiet here. But inside, except for my lungs, I have peace. “Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me,” goes the song but I know I can’t bring about Peace on Earth, even if I have peace from God inside. I wish it could spread peace as fast and furious as this bug I contacted. But then I have stayed away from everyone so it stops with me. I realize I would have to be out there with everyone in order to spread peace if that were possible. I have learned that the more I am out there, the more chance for lack of goodwill towards man. I can’t think of anyone for whom I have ill will but know some who have it for me. I remember someone once said, “If you don’t have any enemies then are you really standing up for anything?”

If you think I am cynical, it could be the fever, which has finally left midweek. I’ve tried to look at the “Peace” cards from the perspective of those receiving them. Some might discard them as childish thinking or a Biblical untruth. Others may think, “Yes, it starts with me.” I remember in the eighties the bumper sticker "Visualize Peace" and then in the nineties, "Visualize Peas". I never believed that visualizing would make it happen. I remember my naïveté almost 30 years ago when I went to Israel and later communicated with a friend I met, expressing that peace will come. He had given up hope a long time before. Now in Israel only the hopeful give up land for peace. Anyone with their eyes open knows it will not come until Jesus comes again.

The birth of Jesus was the entry of this era. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, God in the flesh, coming to live on this Earth for 33 years, left His spirit with us who believe. He came to set us free by his sacrifice so we could regain right relationship to God. This spirit empowers us to be peacemakers, that is the idea but we still dwell in imperfect bodies with imperfect souls and minds.

Today, I think about the cards on the free bench. I hope that anyone picking them up might not think that whoever left them gave up hope on “Peace on Earth.” The Bible says, “Always be prepared to give the hope that dwells in you.”1 This is our hope. When Jesus comes again, a promise, He will resurrect our bodies to live forever on a new Earth… where for the first time there will be unending Peace on Earth, true peace and goodwill forever. I can’t wait.
So until then we prepare to celebrate Christmas, the celebration of the beginning that leads to the hope within us.
1. I Peter 3:15

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