peace on earth

we are all hurting and broken people. i've been reminded of this a lot over the past couple days. this time of year the familiar phrase rings out: "peace on earth, goodwill toward men." and yet we are so very far from peace on earth. and despite our bias toward ourselves to believe that each of us, individually, can in fact have goodwill toward men, we don't. not toward all men. not toward every tongue, tribe, and nation.

i bet that every single one of us could stop and think of someone whom we wish ill toward - whether it's based on political beliefs, social status, race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or any other thing - even an entirely random thing. 

we are all hurting and broken people. 

despite our very best intentions, and the heart behind what we try to do, we continue to fail. if you're like me, that seems a bit disheartening. ok, it is a bit disheartening.

except that the story doesn't end there. 

we are broken.
we are hurting. 

every. single. one. of. us.

i think we forget that. 
or maybe it's just me. 
either way, i constantly forget that other people are hurting too. that they're hurting more. sometimes i hear  one of my favorite quotes: "be kind. for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle." and i think, that's right. people should be nice to me because my battle is harder than theirs. 

selfish much?

i mean come on, that is the exact opposite of what the quote is getting at. [i know you all are probably smart people, and can figure out what it is actually saying, but i'll keep going with my train of thought anyway...] what it's saying is that we don't know or understand the lives, and the stories of the people around us. what we know about their lives is based solely on what they tell us through various ways of communication. 

and some of their nonverbal communication is misleading. guaranteed.

and everyone is dealing with something. 
just about everyone has been through something in his or her lifetime that would make your eyes well up with tears. something heart-wrenching. something that would remind each of us that all the people we see around us, are people. real, human, created in the image of God, human beings.

but the thing is, the only way we truly love each other -- truly love each other -- is by the grace of God. i honestly believe that. you may not know, or believe in God, but i believe that he created you and me, so regardless of whether you know him or not, his grace is extended to you.

and that is the only way that we get peace on earth - the only way that the constant failure encapsulated by life is not disheartening. 

there but for the grace of God, go i.
there but for the grace of a God who would come in the flesh to save me,
who did for me what i cannot ever - despite what my culture would lead me to believe - do for myself, 
go i.

peace comes in the form of a man, a man who is God, whose name is Jesus Christ. 

he brings healing.
he brings redemption.
he brings grace.

may we be gracious with each other.
may we pay forward the gifts and the blessings we've been given.
at christmas and always.

Source: via Kate on Pinterest

merry christmas to you.
peace on earth,
goodwill toward men.


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