The national news showed the events of the day. People at a Christmas market in Germany were attacked by men driving a transport truck which mowed them down. A Russian diplomat was killed in Turkey. A vacationing Newfoundlander was one of ten killed in Jordan. People, including children, in eastern Aleppo, waited for transport out of the death and destruction which surround them. Acts of terrorism fill the news. There is no peace on earth this Christmas.
For several years during my teaching career, I sang with an ecumenical choir in Buchans, Newfoundland. We sang a variety of music, but one of the songs which spoke to me was Let There Be Peace on Earth.
"Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me." So true! How can we expect peace on earth if each of us doesn't do our part to create peace in our own lives? Why do we allow petty differences and misunderstandings to separate us from people? Why do family members not speak to each other, or neighbours not even acknowledge each other?
Pride can be so destructive. It can keep us from saying, "I apologize," or "I am sorry." It can also keep us from accepting an apology and cause us to harbour resentment and anger, which are detrimental to peace and are self destructive. They keep us from being our best selves.
We can't expect peace this Christmas or any Christmas until it begins in our own lives. A movement towards peace starts with each individual who makes a commitment and lives that commitment in her relations with others, family, friends and even those she doesn't know. It begins with an openness to others.
I learned of openness from my father. He had many reasons to be angry and resentful towards his father. Instead, Dad worked at developing a relationship with him, and his father wanted and worked on that relationship too. We all benefitted from this reconciliation, knowing our grandfather and learning how to let go of resentment and past hurts.
Sometimes, the hurts are too great and the relationship cannot be restored but forgiving and letting go means you can move ahead, free and unencumbered. Lacking the anger and resentment, you can be open again, not needing to protect yourself any more.
I am a work in progress at peace. I know what I have to do but I haven't been successful all the time. Let it begin with me indeed.