It’s been a struggle for most of us. Between the COVID-19 pandemic, the growing rancor over politics, the increasing threats of violence both foreign and domestic and the increasing disparity between the rich and the poor, there does not seem to be an opportunity to find harmony anywhere. But there is and the recurrence of Christmas is the reminder of how we seize that peace.
Over two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ was born in what is now modern day Israel. As Christians, we believe that He was the Son of God and that He came to reaffirm the relationship between God and His creations. His life was a road map for all of us if only we will seize upon it.
The Gospels recount the life of Jesus and His teachings. What is remarkable in those accounts of His life is the absence of personal conflict even with those who sought His destruction. He had patience with those who sought to disagree. His responses were never a personal condemnation but rather a teachable moment. He healed, He comforted, He shared and most importantly He listened. Where there was ambiguity He sought clarity. Where there was evil He sought to isolate and repel the evil and to save the man.
This is not a John Lennon Give-Peace-a-Chance naivete. Jesus understood the violence of man and knew that it was destined to take His life. There have always been, and likely will always be, brutes who take advantage of the weak and the fearful. Jesus found grace in the brave who would confront their savagery on behalf of themselves and others – even strangers. But he refused violence Himself and at the moment of death forgave those who took His life.
In it simplest notion, Jesus taught not only a path to peace, tranquility and an eternal life, but also a means by which conflict can be minimized by avoiding the escalation. It is a lesson that we should all pursue more diligently.
So embrace the goodness of man, and refuse man’s baser instincts that cast us one against the other. It can start with just toning down the rhetoric. It can start with questions for clarity rather than denunciations. But it can only start with you.
Merry Christmas and we hope your New Year is the best you have ever had.