On good days, I do well holding the space I call peacemaking. And, it would be wonderful if we could all live in that space of peaceful bliss every single day. But I deeply wonder, “Is it even possible? Is ‘peace on earth’ anything more than wishful thinking?” I mean, let’s be realistic here. I know I’m not the only one who has ever made a faithful pledge only to break it by the close of the day. I’ve voiced in one breath, “I’ll keep my anger to myself,” but in the very next breath I’ve gone off on a justice-seeking rampage. We’re human. We have human shortcomings. So, is it possible to get along and live in peace with one another?
My all-time favorite piece of scripture is most often associated with Advent and Christmas, but I cling to it many times throughout the year. It charges me. It gives me purpose and it gives me hope. It’s Luke 2:10-14… “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace, goodwill among people!’”
It seems to me the only way for the glory of heaven (peace on earth) to exist is for us to get out of the way. You see, what God intends and what scripture announces is peace, goodwill among people. We don’t need some special membership card, nor do we have to align with any particular political party. It’s okay for us to be diverse. In fact, there’s really no way around it… black, white, gay, straight, married, single, Christian, Jewish, American, Palestinian, tall, short, right, wrong. .. we are the people of this world. And believe it or not peace and goodwill have been pronounced as a possibility! And you know, my friends, peace and goodwill begins with us. We have to work together. If our neighbor worries about national debt, shouldn’t we listen and consider how we might address that? And if our other neighbor claims they are oppressed, shouldn’t we listen and consider how we might bring about change? We won’t always agree, but we can value one another instead of create dissension.
We have to remember that it’s not always about us – we learned that in Kindergarten when we had to share crayons and play nicely in the sandbox. When we place our own needs and passions as more righteous and important than anyone else, we do nothing more than hamper the peace and goodwill of our nation. I don’t imagine myself ever forfeiting the fight for equality and social justice, but I can do it in such a way that allows you the space to work for your passions as well. When we choose peace on earth, we’re more effective in our pursuit of goodwill among people.