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Real Answers™
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Copyright: ©2001, 2008 William Cripe Sr.
620 words

REAL PEACE REQUIRES WORK, NOT WISHES

By: William Cripe Sr.

Barely twenty-four hours have passed and the mountains of presents cascading to the floor in a kaleidoscope of colors have been reduced to a landfill of shredded wrappings, smushed bows and misshaped containers.   Yesterday's artwork is today's trash. I've never much cared for the day after Christmas. I'd prefer to live with the excitement and anticipation of unopened presents to the aftermath of surprises revealed. Christmas carols seem out of place even though only a day ago they were the harbingers of peace on Earth, good will towards men.

The wonder of Christmas is short lived for many and tidings of "Peace on Earth" as meaningless as the "Gesundheit!" uttered behind a stranger's sneeze. Never the less, networks display their salutations on screen wishing peace on Earth, and newsmen wish us well as they say good night.

After centuries of reciting this mantra, the world is no closer to peace today than it was 1000 or even 100 years ago. So what is this senseless homily of empty verbiage that steals headlines, squanders airtime, and silently mocks those foolish enough to insist on its vain repetition?

Perhaps it would surprise some to know that it was first uttered by angels. Not as some self-hypnotic chant to numb one to the turmoil all around, but to announce the arrival of the long awaited redeemer -- God had visited His people in human form; let the celebration begin!

But if you read them in context, these words have a different meaning: "And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." (Luke 2:10-14)

Did you read it carefully? "GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST and on Earth peace, good will toward men." The angels weren't practicing positive thinking. They were declaring the logical outcome of God's presence on Earth contingent upon the world's willingness to give him the glory. In other words, true lasting peace is dependant on submission to the one who is the embodiment of peace, for in the manger lay "Peace Personified." With a word he calms not only the tempest on the sea, but every storm of life as well.

For the angels of heaven the long wait was over. The serenity of Eden, shaken by the rebellion of man was about to be restored through the babe in swaddling clothes. The heavenly beings were ecstatic. God Himself was about to clean up the mess we created.

Peace on Earth will not be established merely by the eradication of terrorists. Not in any lasting way at any rate. Only through a transformation of anxious hearts will any lasting measure of harmony be attained on a broader scale. Such transformation is possible only through the one who declared, "These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace..."

So the lights come down; the wreaths turn brown and the spirit of Christmas gets packed away in boxes whose sides are splitting from over work through the years of use. But the babe in the manger is not confined to cardboard. His offer is as real today as it was when He first uttered it to his friends. "...In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."

"Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091; amyfoundtn@aol.com

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