“Make every effort to live in peace with all men.” (Hebrews 12:14a).
The year that has preceded this Christmas — punctuated by the misery of the most recent weekend — has seemed the opposite of peaceful. There have been horrifying images of death, destruction and division at every turn.
It is tough to say things are so much better here at home. We have enjoyed some laughs and some smiles, for sure. We have also cried over tragedy, and we have shaken our heads at the bad parts of the news.
Christmas, then, comes at an odd time, with its herald of “glad tidings of great joy … to all people” (Luke 2:10). It seems incongruous with a fallen world that has spent at least as much time crying as it has rejoicing.
Perhaps it is because of all that sadness that we need Christmastime. We need to spend a few days helping the needy, visiting our families and reflecting on what it means to be at peace.
In times past, soldiers have paused briefly from the horror of battle to celebrate the Christmas holiday. Maybe our world is not at war today — at least not officially — but we could definitely stand to pause, at least for a moment, to share some peace and goodwill.
There have been and continue to be a myriad of great stories to warm the hearts of many around the holidays. Citizens young and old have donated time, money and supplies to various causes. These are the stories that allow us to enjoy just a bit of peace this Christmas.
To be sure, a number of battles, personal and political, await us in the coming year. We will all engage in heated discussions, fighting for causes we believe in. There will be tragedies and heartaches, as there are every year.
It is our prayer that we can all observe a little peace, love and goodwill this Christmas, and in Christmases to come.
God bless us every one.