Saturday, December 17, 2011

9 Days To Christmas - Peace

Peace is a song, a chant, a cry, a reason to protest or an excuse for some sort of action.  For many people, peace can be one or two or all of these things. And for still others, it's an idea worth preserving and fighting for.

Whichever way one looks at it, peace invariably finds itself on the top of everyone's agenda. One can't go wrong if peace remains the core rationale for any activity. It sounds great on paper and makes the ones talking about it feel and look good. Sometimes the most outrageous military exercise can be undertaken in the name of peace, and that somehow, is often used as a means to toast themselves as saints.

In fact, some of the most tyrannical dictatorships that have been known for exporting terrorism claim to do so in the name of peace. Or at least, their atrocity projected as a necessity to bring about peace.

Peace, in this context, is often viewed as a combination of a ceasefire and cessation of violence. Or as a resumption of trade ties and establishment of economic partnership. In other words, transforming adversaries into economic allies.

It is assumed that this change in equation will silence the guns forever because of a shared stake in economic gain. And it makes sense because war and violence do not produce the right environment for boosting the retail and tourism trade, for instance.

But there is another peace that no trade or political agreement can ever help achieve. It is to do with the war that burns in the hearts of men and women everywhere -- the fear and anxiety that makes being alive a living hell for some people, the agonising insecurity that drives others to uncontrollable fits of rage and jealousy, and the aching loneliness that renders their very existence to be totally meaningless.

Peace, for many people, is not a brownie point to be gained the way governmental bodies negotiate treaties. It is the very water that the hot burning sands of the desert crave during the summer months. It is a need as urgent as the air one breathes, the water that quenches our thirst, and the food that  strengthens and nourishes us.

Peace is also something that ties in very well with the Christmas narrative. It is something that we need to remind ourselves in between the many distractions that can shift our minds elsewhere during the season.

Christmas marks the birth of the Messiah who was also known as the Prince of Peace. In fact, the angelic choir burst out in the night sky and announced to the shepherds: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace on whom His favour rests.'

It was, as if, a declaration was made that peace need no longer inhabit the realm of wishful thinking but has now become possible for those who seek it.

However, it is vital to note that to give to the world the 'peace that passes all understanding', the Messiah had to walk a road of pain and grief or as Prophet Isaiah put it:

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

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