Columbia, SC — On his return from meeting with Adolph Hitler in 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain spoke of “peace for our time.” Yet there followed World War II, and then Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and the list goes on — all tragic witness that such peace failed.
Peace for our time expresses the yearnings of people across the length and breadth of this nation and all the nations that encompass God’s world.
In this holy season of Christmas, people across the globe are dying, as humanity struggles to achieve justice and freedom, fighting for worth and dignity. At home, innocents are slaughtered. And following a political process that was void of civil discourse, we search for leadership that promotes the common good and general welfare.
In the midst of these conflicts at home and abroad, the words of Phillips Brooks’ beloved hymn speak to a world searching for peace:
“Where children pure and happy pray to the blessed Child,
“where misery cries out to thee, Son of the mother mild;
“Where charity stands watching and faith holds wide the door,
“the dark night wakes, the glory breaks, and Christmas comes once more.”
The peace that humanity searches for is more than the absence of hostility. The peace that brings justice and righteousness is the peace of the birth event that is the reason for the Christmas celebration. The peace of God shows forth in our common life as each person, in his or her daily act of living, seeks the well being of the other.
These days should not be measured in financial statistics only, but in whether there is a change in human relationships. May we learn to live in greater harmony, laboring together for the common good to further the peace of God and enhance the worth and dignity of all humanity.
The prophet Micah speaks to us from the distant past: “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.” That is the message that comes to us from a stable in Bethlehem.
Rev. Canon George Chassey