Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Wild and sweet the songs repeat of Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men

          Every year at Christmas I ask the Lord to help me see the Christmas story in a new way and to meditate on some particular aspect that will make a difference in my life.  One year I was awestruck by the role that Mary played in the coming of the Messiah, and last year God used the homelessness of Jesus to comfort me during a difficult transition.  This year, as I have been struggling to balance my attention between Christmas-themed events (parties, programs, and endless shopping), it has taken a while for God to get a hold of me and teach me once again what His birth really means.  On the way home from a long busy day, a line from a song struck me.
        "Hallelujah, the King is here, given for all men."
Given for all men? We talk about how Christ is God's gift to the world, but what exactly did he bring?  What did He promise?
          The angels declared, "Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, good will to men."  Is this the gift of Christ? If the Prince of Peace came to bring peace to all men, where is it?
          "Then in despair I bowed my head, 'There is no peace on earth', I said.  'For hate is strong, and mocks the song of peace on earth, goodwill to men." Longfellow
           Jesus Himself said, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." (Matt 10:34)
         And yet, as I wander through a hushed white world, feeling the earth around me stop turning for a few moments while I watch the dance of the falling ice stars.... peace on earth doesn't seem that far out of reach.

This is the truth God wants me to learn this year.

This is my assignment to meditate on this Christmas.

This is my meaning of Christmas.

"On earth PEACE, goodwill to men."

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