“Peace on earth, good will toward men.” We find that sentiment echoed in song and scripture often at this time of year. But how do we reconcile that with what we see and hear going on in the world today? In our own country? Too often in our own neighborhoods? How can we wrap our brains around what Our Lord came to do and what we see going on around us?
We’re not the only ones that find this task a challenge. Jesus’s own followers expected the Messiah would come raging into this world prepared to free them not from sin, but from oppression–by force if necessary. But Our Savior preached only peace and love; mercy and forgiveness.
In the 2000 years since His death, this message has been preached all over the world. But is our world any better than it was before or during Jesus’s time? Is there more love and mercy in it? The news headlines would lead anyone to believe things have only gotten worse. However, I choose to believe otherwise. Oh, I don’t deny there are those whose hearts are corrupted by hate, bitterness, and greed for wealth, power or pleasure. But I have known and seen so many instances of self-sacrifice, charity, acts of mercy and love that I still hold out great hope for the human race.
Sometimes I just look for heartwarming stories of selfless giving. Today I read about a man who carried with him the tools to give haircuts to homeless people he would encounter. Eventually a benefactor set him up with his own barber shop in which he could earn a living and continue his tonsorial philanthropy.
All one has to do is look to the response of ordinary people after one of nature’s onslaughts. Thousands of people reach out to help others they don’t know oceans away, just because they care and feel compassion. When they do that–when we do that–we are being Christ to others. And that is what He instructed us to do.
It is in doing so that we find true peace. A peace that comes from the inside outward. Peace that warms the heart and nourishes the soul. Through us and in this way, His message lives on, and the world becomes just a little bit better. This is still a season of peace, of love…and I believe, most of all, a season of hope.