I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
Longfellow's words written during the American Civil War could well have been written today. The priorities of our Christmas thoughts have pushed peace well on down the list. It's not for us to fulfill the ideals of the season. That's left for others, those in power and position. Those for whom peace is not profitable.
We fail as a country, as a world. We outnumber the haters, the murderers, the thieves a million to one but still they rule the day with their fear and intimidation. Peace is just a word without meaning, mumbled in a prayer that fails to motivate those who think they are doing service to their God.
I see the trends in the features on the local news. Helping the homeless, the poor, the hungry; saluting the soldiers who can't be home for Christmas as they occupy foreign lands, giving to the families of the fallen; the increasing activities of those who rob and steal from others. There's a connection. War drains the morality of a people. The lack of jobs creates situations of desperation. Folks do help the best the can on one level but still so many dismiss the concept of peace as a weakness, bought on by the continuous deceptions of dividing us into opposing groups, creating the distortion of only the strongest survive.
But peace is not weakness. It is the greatest gift of all.
Merry Christmas to everyone. May you have a safe and happy holiday.