Peace on Earth

One of the most ironic of Christmas messages is “peace on earth.” The irony comes in the means of declaring that peace. Apparently first-century angels were declaring peace to the entire world, according to Luke. The peace that we see proffered, however, often extends only to those like us. What is the harm in extending Christmas joy to all? Must one be a Christian of a particular stripe before the joy of giving can be bestowed? Over the last several years various Christian groups have sought to reclaim ownership of the holiday they borrowed from the pagan Romans, Celts, and Anglo-Saxons. Make it exclusively ours. Peace to us, and let others find their own way home.

In a season of charitable giving, understanding seems to have fallen off the list of Saint Nicholas. In his guise as Santa Claus he makes the rounds of the entire world, according to the mythology that children are told. Do we ever really picture Santa delivering gifts to those who live in Iran, North Korea, or Afghanistan? Does peace on earth apply to them? The thing about peace is, unless everybody has it nobody has it.

Can we learn to share Christmas? Those who fret over Xmas forget that first-century Christians abbreviated Christ with an X (chi in Greek), just as they represented him by a highly stylized fish. Today an empty fish on your bumper declares what an X cannot, apparently. The message is that Christmas belongs to us, not secular pretenders who just want an excuse to make their kids happy. For most of the history of Christianity, Christmas had been a low-key event, barely noticed by most of the faithful. When the possibility of material gain was added in, however, the holiday became especially holy. Should we share the doctrine but not the gain, or should we make Christmas a gift to all the world – a season when all might reasonably hope for peace?

2 thoughts on “Peace on Earth

  1. JC

    A Holiday Thought…

    Aren’t humans amazing? They kill wildlife – birds, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice and foxes by the million in order to protect their domestic animals and their feed.

    Then they kill domestic animals by the billion and eat them. This in turn kills people by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative – and fatal – health conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer.

    So then humans spend billions of dollars torturing and killing millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases.

    Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals.

    Meanwhile, few people recognize the absurdity of humans, who kill so easily and violently, and once a year send out cards praying for “Peace on Earth.”

    ~Revised Preface to Old MacDonald’s Factory Farm by C. David Coates~

    _____________

    Anyone can break this cycle of violence! Everyone has the power to choose compassion! Please visit these websites to align your core values with life affirming choices: http://veganvideo.org & http://tryveg.com

    “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” ~ Genesis 1:29

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  2. The irony to me as that as many non-Christians try to make Jesus “the reason for the season” as fundamentalist Christians, insisting that it is a religious holiday rather than a secular tradition. I wished someone a Merry Christmas the other day, and she fluffed herself up and informed me that not everyone celebrates Christmas. Then she wished me Happy Holidays. If I had thought of it at the time, I would have pointed out to her that not everyone celebrates “holy days.” What a lot of nonsense when people are just trying to be nice to each other. Thanks for your post. All the best.

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