Peace on Earth. Really?

Every year when Christmas rolls around, I feel like I should feel something; something warm and cozy that evokes a sense of joy, gratitude, and peace.

Usually, things are just too busy for me to get around to that until very late in the season. There are those moments late at night when I am the only one awake sitting in front of the Christmas tree and a picturesque (though fake) fire in the fireplace. Or, maybe the goosebumps will get me when I blast one of my favorite Christmas songs, Manheim Steamroller’s, “Silent Night” or Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s, “This Christmas Day.”

But honestly, the busyness of the season and my personal preoccupations rob me of the blessed peaceful moments most of the time.

I have been thinking about peace, because of its association with Christmas, because it is a wonderful state of mind, and sadly, because it is so elusive.

When I pan out for a more global view, peace is the antithesis of what I see. Everyone is stressed out over Covid. It’s called Covid fatigue. Yet, we seem to be more lax in our precautions now when the pandemic is raging at its worse. Basic public health precautions have unexplainably gotten mixed with up politics. Schools, families, and businesses had been turned upside down trying to figure how to deal with this thing. 2020 has been a nightmare for so many people. Over 3000,000 people are dead from this plague in the U.S alone. Even though we have a vaccine, 42% of the population is suspect and unwilling to be a happy recipient. 

Racial unrest is always ready to be re-ignited by the next incident. Since I was alive in the sixties, I really thought this one was mostly behind us. Nope. 

We can’t even agree on an election. Really? There is violence the streets over an election in the United States of America. 

We not only disagree on these things. We not only vilify those who disagree. But we are taking it to new, strange places, like conspiracy theories, hate, and violence. Even crazier, Christians (the people whose name means, “like Christ”) are caught up in the politics and a bunch of the other nasty stuff that does much look like loving God or your neighbor.

My point is, we not only need personal peace. We need relational peace, too. 

Suddenly, amongst the chaos, it is Christmas time and it’s peace and goodwill and blah, blah, blah. Then we can get on with our hate, our self-righteous, and own inner turmoil.

Suddenly, about two thousand years ago, Jesus enters the scene of one ——– up world. It was far worse than ours today. A cruel military super-power occupied the country. They had an arrangement with the corrupt elite, the government officials, the religious leaders, and the wealthy so they could hold down that the rest of the people down. It was industrial military complex, deep state, income inequality, conspiracies, and corruption that makes our situation today look petty. 

Did it, did he, make a difference? Really? 

Maybe, I will get onto that next time. 

Until then, may we pursue peace in our heart and peace with others.

It may be the most precious thing of all. 

Here are the words to an old U2 song that expresses the hunger for peace in a messed-up world.

“Peace on Earth”

Heaven on earth
We need it now
I’m sick of all of this
Hanging around
Sick of sorrow
Sick of pain
Sick of hearing again and again
That there’s gonna be
Peace on earth

Where I grew up
There weren’t many trees
Where there was we’d tear them down
And use them on our enemies
They say that what you mock
Will surely overtake you
And you become a monster
So the monster will not break you

And it’s already gone too far
Who said if you go in hard
You won’t get hurt?

Jesus can you take the time
To throw a drowning man a line?
Peace on earth
Tell the ones who hear no sound
Whose sons are living in the ground
Peace on earth
No whos or whys
No-one cries like a mother cries
For peace on earth
She never got to say goodbye
To see the color in his eyes
Now he’s in the dirt
Peace on earth

They’re reading names out over the radio
All the folks the rest of us won’t get to know
Sean and Julia, Gareth, Ann and Brenda
Their lives are bigger than any big idea

Jesus, can you take the time
To throw a drowning man a line?
Peace on earth
To tell the ones who hear no sound
Whose sons are living in the ground
Peace on earth

Jesus, in the song you wrote
The words are sticking in my throat
Peace on earth
Hear it every Christmas time
But hope and history won’t rhyme
So what’s it worth?
This peace on earth

Peace on earth
Peace on earth
Peace on earth

About Glenn

Glenn Hager is a blogger, former newspaper columnist, and author of two books, An Irreligious Faith and Free Range Faith.
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