Christmas: Peace Invasion Needed!
A mate of mine is likely to have a busy Christmas this year. He is heading off to the Middle East as a Chaplain to support RAAF & ADF members on what I like to think of as a mission to bring peace and stability. I don’t envy him at all.
It’s not an easy thing to bring peace when you try to get between fighting people. It doesn’t matter so much who started it. It’s difficult when it comes to a clash of ideas or beliefs that have lead to real pain and loss. It’s near impossible whether it’s a longstanding family feud between a dad and daughter or at the larger scale of warring people groups. Maybe you have also seen how quickly people set their minds on which side is right – almost always their side - and begin to justify their actions as ‘just’.
I guess I used to be a bit surprised by who wouldn’t be turning up to the work Christmas Party due to “personality clashes”. I also used to be a bit out of sorts when relatives didn’t want to get together on Christmas Day because he said … or she went and … etc. I suppose I am a bit over the lack of peace during a season, or even just one day, of “good will” and “Christmas cheer”.
To me, what is more important is how is this thing going to end? And who will be able to bring about the best possible ending of lasting peace?
Using threat or force doesn’t seem to work in families. Certainly there are mixed results when it comes to people groups or nations without peace. What I have seen work powerfully in my family, and even on the world’s stage, is people talking and listening to each other (eg Reconciliation in South Africa). And most importantly peace comes when people – usually the ones most hurt – express forgiveness and a willingness to work things out with the other party. I know its not ‘right’ nor is it always just. But it does work.
It’s as if what is missing is another element, another force for peace, that needs to come into the mess, pain and hatred. Not surprisingly it reminds me of the timely mission of God in sending his Son into the messy, painful world we live in. Christmas is when He doesn’t take sides, he just sends a peace invasion of forgiveness and love.