Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Peace..................... Christmas 2014

Of all the Biblical writers, I am most drawn to Isaiah. Perhaps it is because George Frederich Handel set so much of the text to music in my favorite of all master choral works, The Messiah. For me, Isaiah 9.6 is particularly prophetic and powerful:

         For unto us a child is born, Unto us a son is given. And the government shall be upon
         His shoulders. His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting 
         Father, the Prince of Peace.

The Prince of Peace. Peace.  It is one of the most beautiful words in the English language. I think I have prayed for peace more than any other petition. I pray for forgiveness. I pray for healing for loved ones who are sick. I pray for the departed and for family and friends who mourn.  I believe God answers prayer and I have witnessed the power of prayer first hand. Yet despite my prayers, there is no peace.

I am a child of the cold war. Born when tanks were moving into Budapest and Prague. Raised with "no mans lands" in Korea and Berlin. I remember missiles in Cuba. I saw American boys die in Vietnam on the evening news. There were two wars across the Sinai and Golan Heights. I remember African wars in Mozambique, the Congo, Angola and South Africa. Lives were lost in Cambodia, Laos, the Falklands, Libya, Syria, Cyprus and Rwanda.  Iranians and Iraqis killed each other for a number of years. The Russians invaded Afghanistan. There have been battles in the streets of Georgia, Chechnya, and the Ukraine. The former Yugoslavia exploded  into killing fields littered with Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian dead. Blood has been spilled in Somalia and Kenya. Our troops still occupy soil in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have seen the face of terror from Munich to Manhattan, in the streets of London and Madrid, in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Israel and in Palestine. I am sure I have forgotten some. I am 58 years old and I fear that my world has not known peace in my time. I have not even mentioned Ferguson or New York where peace is also elusive.


Nevertheless, I am not deterred. If anything, as I grow older, I feel more motivated to advocate for peace. St. Francis' prayer is for each of us to be an instrument of peace. The simple Christmas carol prays that there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. As for me, like the Wise Men of old, I seek the Prince of Peace.  I believe the star marked where love came down. The star marks it, the Angels sing it, Christ is Born! Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth, Peace, Goodwill Towards Men. 2014 was a year of many blessings. Perhaps the blessing of Macie Blaine makes me more acutely aware of the need to advocate an end to war, an end to violence, an end to terrorism. So let it begin here. This Christmas, invite love in. Let the spirit of Christmas guide you all year long.

To my family, friends and blog followers, I wish you the Merriest Christmas and a Blessed, Happy, Healthy 2015.  My gift for each of you is this recording by the Pentatonix. Click and enjoy.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFjdfjrtf1Q

1 comment:

  1. Eric, to encounter Handel in a fishing blog...goosebumps. My father is a world renowned choral director. I don't know if you're familiar with Coronation Anthem #1 & Dixit Dominus. These two Handel pieces are my favorites & I had the great fortune to perform in both, vocally. I think I did in the Messiah also.