Imagine Peace. Anyone driving behind me receives this directive. What happens after that is up to them, but at least I have planted the seed. The other day a man stopped me in a grocery store parking lot and commented, “I can’t even begin to imagine peace. For my whole life there has been a war going on somewhere.”
I had to agree with him. Nations wage war or threaten war against each other. Groups within nations engage in bitter conflict with weapons, words, or both. When you consider all this, it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to imagine a world free from conflict. It’s easy to become overwhelmed, particularly if we define peace as “world peace.”
As a child in my school choir, I sang “Let There Be Peace on Earth and Let It Begin with Me.” It was a huge relief when I realized I was not single-handedly responsible for creating world peace. My job was to live peacefully, moment by moment, with the rest of God’s children (still not an easy task but much more doable than stopping war all over the globe). My twelve-year-old self could easily imagine that kind of peace.
And I can imagine it now. I explained this to the man in the parking lot. I said, “I’m going to keep trying. It’s my job.” He shook his head in what seemed like skepticism or disbelief, but he was smiling. I choose to believe he will try too.
I hope you’ll join us.
Peace is a ribbon that circles the earth, giving a promise of safety and worth.
– from “When God Is a Child” by Brian Wren
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. Colossians 3:15
We live in an “unpeaceful” time. From politics to pipelines to “taking a knee,” battles rage around us. Historically, there have been greater conflicts, but even an argument over the color of a coffee cup seems like a big deal when you’re in the midst of it.
A little girl in my community saw video on social media of someone stealing money from a tip jar at a local donut shop. She took her “tooth fairy” money to the donut shop and slipped it into the tip jar with a note saying she was sorry about what happened. Though the conflict was not her own, she saw a need and stepped in to help. That’s a pretty big move for such a little girl.
As this week of peace begins, I hope each of us will think about the ways we approach conflict and the ways we interact with those who don’t agree with us. Maybe we can begin to speak in favor of ideals and values rather than against individuals. Maybe we can stand up and help, peacefully, even when the conflict doesn’t directly affect us. The example was set for us thousands of years ago by one who was called the Prince of Peace and again this week by a little girl in a donut shop. It’s kind of a big deal.
I pray that this week will bring peace to our hearts so we may begin to influence peace in the world around us. Be sure to stop by and share your stories of peace this week.
The winter solstice has passed, and we are on our way to longer days, shorter nights. It makes sense that we celebrate the birth of Jesus at about the same time as the world around us begins to grow brighter.
As we wait these last few days, I wish you hope.
I wish you love.
I wish you the joy of welcoming an infant savior into the world and the peace that comes from welcoming the adult Christ into your days.