December 30

“This assembly may know that the Lord does not save by sword and spear.”  1 Samuel 17:47

“A harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.”  James 3:18

“Peace on earth …” we sang.  Peace is elusive.  Even an optimist such as myself knows an end to fighting isn’t likely.  Human beings are too self-centered and greedy for control and possessions.  There are cultures where vengeance is a sign of strength and honor, expected and accepted.   Grudges last for lifetimes, generations, centuries.    We need a savior.

Even if our nation is not at war many live in cities and neighborhoods with gang violence; drive-by late night, early morning, anytime shootings.  Even if our neighborhood feels secure and free of violence, there is division within homes and relationships.  Peace would be heavenly but I can’t sleep, struggling with my own doubts and insecurities, anxieties and worries.  I need a savior.

“… and good will to all” we sang.  “Let’s share God’s peace with one another” the pastor says … my pew, pews close by, a wave across the church.  The pastor really means … Share God’s peace beyond the church walls, beyond one hour of worship time.  If I needle and barb I am sharpening my sword.  If I respond in anger or hurtful cynicism I am not forging plowshares.  If I am filled with fear and mistrust, a mean fighting spirit, if I am quick to react in anger, live with anger, cannot forgive, I am not a peacemaker.  I need a savior.

Isaiah said he would be called Wonderful Counsellor, mighty God, everlasting Father … the Prince of Peace; that a little child would lead us to peace.  They named him Jesus – for he will save his people from their sins. 

May “the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Amen  (Phil 4:7)

Verla Olson