In reflecting the events of this past year, there were times to celebrate but also times when horrendous acts resulted in the deaths of innocent people. Too often, the stories of the later were played over and over again in the media, and we would watch trying to understand; to make sense of it all.
What drives people to such extreme measures of killing others and self? For many, it is the pain of mental illness or drugs along with a continued focus on resentment and hatred that create an ongoing inner turmoil.
In reflection, we have the opportunity to look at ourselves and how we have chosen to live our lives. Do we reach out to those who are struggling? Do we care enough to listen and offer compassion? While we can’t solve all problems, we can be an instrument of love, hope, and peace to all we encounter.
Love – Hope – Peace
We speak to these themes each Christmas in our Christmas card mantras. Peace is thought of as a potential outcome of a battlefield somewhere between countries or cultures. We view hope as something we want but have become jaded about. And love: well, we have been rejected and hurt too many times to trust or love anyone anymore.
Love, hope and peace begin in our hearts. It cannot start anywhere else. But how are we to love that person who has taken advantage of us, hurt us, used and abused us? We don’t get that ability from our culture or love songs or peace rallies. A love that can bring hope and peace to our hearts starts with God and that little baby in the manager. It is what agnostics, atheists and those who want to be in complete control of their lives fear above all else – that there might be some truth to the Christmas story.
Perhaps the most important healing component we have for our lives is love. True love is the only weapon against the assault of hate. Without love, we are lost. Without love, there is no hope for us as a people on this earth. A love that risks all – embraces all – gives all – endures all. That is what we received when a helpless, vulnerable baby boy was born so many years ago. What parent wouldn’t willingly sacrifice their own life for that of their child? God, our heavenly Father demonstrated that for us, His children, when He gave His only Son to die for us that we might live.
As we pray for comfort for families who have lost loved ones this past year, let us remember the thousands of families whose lives are torn apart by hate, hurt, pain, greed, isolation, bitterness, and revenge.
Love, hope and peace are only hollow words unless they are followed by positive personal action. It’s a time for humility and honesty and openness.
If you have a story of hope and endurance and faith that you would like to share with others, please let me know so we can post them on upcoming blogs.
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