Pray long and hard for a season of peace.
Story: Joe Angione
This year we’ve heard and seen almost nothing but bad news—personal hardships, humanitarian disasters, terrorist assaults, saber-rattling by enemy nations, and talk of imminent war. Our ears hurt, our eyes are strained, and our minds reel from a litany of terrible events happening now and possibly in the future.
These sights and sounds are terrifying and have many of us believing there’s no hope for a world careening toward oblivion.
We need a break, and fortunately we’re at that time of year when a break is most likely to happen…if we hope and pray hard enough.
One of the most famous Christmas expressions of hope for the world are the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
“I heard the bells on Christmas Day.
Their old, familiar carols play.
And wild and sweet their words repeat of peace on earth, good will to men!
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail; the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”
Steve Maraboli, a popular behavioral scientist, makes the spirit of Christmas simple: “Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.”
Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happening in war-torn places like Syria, the scene of the unspeakable slaughter of tens of thousands of defenseless citizens caught up in a civil war of unimaginable brutality, and of ear-splitting, mind-shattering sights, sounds, and pain.
These victims long for one single silent night, one holy night, no less a lifetime without terror and misery. Their longings for a peaceful existence may never be answered unless we pray long and hard for them. God remains their only hope for survival as, of course, He is for ours.
Please take a few minutes this season to pray for them and all others whose misfortune can be eased only by God. A silent world, a holy world filled with God’s love and mercy should be foremost in our hopes for this Christmas and for the New Year.
Charles Dickens was right when he counseled us “to honor Christmas in our hearts, and try to keep it all the year.” It is, after all, not just a date, but a state of mind that raises us all to the highest level of joyful human existence.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.