Peace on earth?
We wish it in greetings of prose and song this time each year but is it really still possible or just a relic of holiday grammar; an empty, outdated hope from simpler safer times of long ago? Giving up on peace would be a resignation of hope and I don’t think most of us are ready for that just yet.
Nowadays it seems more believe in Santa Claus than believe peace on earth is genuinely attainable. It sounds warm, lovely and hopeful like many season’s greeting cards but is just as quickly quashed by the next hostile news report, shooting, act of war or other global mayhem across the pond or more recently in our own backyards.
I, for one, believe peace on earth is still possible because peace on earth isn’t static but rather a movement.
Abandon the seemingly impossible thought of global peace and view it as a series of individual efforts, consistent and connected, moving the cause forward, if but an inch with each deliberate effort. By definition, movements move. They seek momentum. They don’t stop and can’t stop. Those who pay it forward do so in small, imaginable, deliberate ways, not because of a season or words on a greeting card.
Peace is the easing of pain, the healing of wounds, the comfort of the afflicted. Peace is a warm coat, a hot meal, a ride to the store or a touch for the untouchable. We can do peace. Each of us can be peace to another. Peace on earth is the selfless sacrifice of effort. Selfish people rarely have it because they rarely give it, leaving it up to the rest of us to keep the ball rolling.
At this time of year of more selfish indulgence than any other, peace-full people make the extra effort not to just give it away but to pass it on like the gift it is. Stories of individual and family gives, abandons of conformity to the holiday commercialization and spontaneous ensembles of strangers uniting for the purpose of sharing with the impoverished abound.
Peace on earth is deliberate.
It doesn’t ride in on political coattails. It doesn’t take up residence in a heart of good intentions. It can’t be legislated, mandated or lightly accommodated and rarely arrives in waves of mass conviction. Peace on earth is a deliberate movement beginning with a single act of goodwill never bound to a time of year.
Peace on earth is a commitment.
Truth is, when the holiday season ends, so does much of the giving. Corporate giving reduces when PR opportunities are fewer and drops in individual giving follow, justifying their inaction by any excuse. But authentic movements of peace don’t slow or stop simply because the season is over. It never lacks resources. It doesn’t take a break. It continues to move. It has to.
Very soon, the celebration will be over, but the cause of peace will go on, feeding the hungry, warming the cold and serving the neglected—with or without you—albeit with less momentum, but never lacking intention or purpose.
At this time and at all times, our wish must be: Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me. Don’t give up the hope. We can get there. Vow with me to do your part to keep the momentum of peace going all year long and well into the new year.
Peace is a verb looking for you, we and us, the pronouns needed to keep it going.
It’s much too soon to give up on this world of ours or this season of peace.