Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas...and Peace on Earth

Posted by Tim

Glory to God in the highest! Peace on the earth and good will towards men.
- Luke 2:14

Merry Christmas from Mulberry Street! Jack, Carlos, and I (along with the rest of our community) would like to wish you all Grace and Peace as you remember Love Incarnate, Jesus Christ, this season. May we never grow tired of hearing how God put on skin and showed us how to love. The miracle of Christmas is not the Nativity itself, but the Notion behind it. He gave up everything, that we might have Peace.'s so easy to talk about Peace during Christmas. It's all over cards and billboards, written into songs and sermons; but how much peace do we honestly experience? Many take time off for Christmas, but between gift wrapping, tree decorating, caroling, and candlelight vigils, the season in which we celebrate the birth of Jesus seems to be one of the most hectic times of the year. Add the busyness, heavy traffic, and congested shopping malls to the anxiety of finding the perfect gift and the strain of visiting relatives, and you'll find a season where many people get downright miserable. I'm afraid that sometimes we are in such a hurry to give of ourselves that we drown out His presence.

Peace...a hard concept to grasp when this year the Christian West celebrated the deaths of Bin Laden, Gaddafi, and Kim Jong Il, withdrew from one battlefield only to contemplate another, and watched as violence rose again in Afghanistan despite the presence of our "peacekeepers." It is hard for the Church to claim Peace while trusting in earthly armies to protect it. The Child in the manger conquered death by yielding to the sword, not wielding it Himself.

The Angels that appeared to the shepherds outside of Bethlehem rejoiced, but they weren't proclaiming generosity or victory by might. So how do we share the Gospel message in a culture where Peace is so foreign? Can we offer Good Will to all men? 800 years ago, a young monk named Francis offered this prayer:

"Lord, make me an instrument of your Peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen."

This Christmas, make it your goal to shout light into the darkness where you find it, because the darkness cannot overcome it. Just as Jesus gave completely of Himself, pour yourself out to family, friends, and enemies this Season. And when you have exhausted what you have, give more. And when we have given it honestly to everyone we know, maybe we ourselves can find Peace this Christmas.

We Love You,

The Mulberry House.

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