Saturday, February 11, 2012

Season of Peace

With all the unrest and turmoil nationally and internationally, it may seem wrong to refer to this time as the “Season of Peace.” As the economy continues to struggle, demonstrators clog public thoroughfares, and elected officials fail in their responsibilities to serve their constituents, hollow words, weak leadership, and misapplication of power and authority enables corruption, greed, and reckless spending to erode the founding principles of America. Decisions which are counter-productive to business, economic growth and the well-being of United States citizens made with abandon in order to appease selfish agendas, narrow-minded visions of ideology and curry favor with special interests, give rise to frustration, mistrust and anger. In extreme cases, personal discouragement and anger crowd out feelings of goodness, appreciation, and peace.
Perhaps these were factors which led Sy Miller and Jill Jackson to write “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” Recorded by a number of celebrities and sung at countless worship services, the words set forth a challenge for each of us to choose peace over discontent. Many times during the year, news stories relate efforts worldwide in the search for peace. Video images of destruction, violence, chaos, and killings flood video screens. Peace seems so elusive—but why?
Of all the people one knows and comes in contact with: family, colleagues, co-workers, friends, acquaintances and strangers, we can only change one person for the better-- and that is ourselves. As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, we control only one person. Even though there are different genders, races, religions, creeds, cultures, ages, and stations of life, we are the same. Regardless of diversity everyone wants the same things. We want to be appreciated, valued and belong. We want to feel successful, important, necessary, honored and respected. We want someone to love—and if we’re very fortunate, have someone loves us in return. We want an abundance of blue skies, green lights, tranquil days and peaceful nights. We want our hearts filled with happiness and joy, our spirit to soar and burgeon with charity, kindness, goodness, thoughtfulness and faith. We want peace of mind, body and soul. We want a full measure of God’s blessings.
For a few brief shining hours each year, we set aside differences and thoughts turn kind. Throughout the world, people celebrate the one perfect birth of this earth and give serious consideration to peace on earth, good will toward men. Seasonal songs and hymns of Christmas fill airwaves, houses of worship, shopping malls, and all places where peace can find residence. Again and again, familiar melodies and lyrics announce the season of seasons, beckoning everyone to bestow peace on one another.

“Let there be peace on earth,
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth,
The peace that was meant to be.
With God as our father,
Brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony.”

Think about the magnitude of that challenge. Peace has to start with me! We have to decide that peace on earth begins within each of us. It is our responsibility how peaceful the earth will be. We have to decide that the blessings of Christmas: Faith, Hope and Charity are dispensed each and every day. We have to willingly share all that is good and decent, kind and pure of heart.

“Let peace begin with me,
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment
And live each moment
With peace eternally
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.”

During the 1440 minutes of each day, goodness, kindness, caring, compassion, and concern for all who have touched our life must be willingly dispensed, shared and presented as a gift of peace.
Another Christmas provides each of us an opportunity to put into practice by prayerful thought, word and deed the true meaning of human kindness. This Holy day enables each of us to share blessings and gifts of the First Christmas with loved ones and strangers, adversaries and friends, rich and poor, servant and official. Most importantly, Christmas allows each of us to present one of humankind’s most sought after, treasured desires. Celebrate the season of peace: “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”
Merry Christmas, everyone.

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