Peace on Earth begins with peace at home

Posted: Sunday, December 24, 2000

It's Christmas Eve. Today and tomorrow, probably more than any other two days of the year, people yearn to experience - to really feel - the meaning behind one of the most-repeated phrases among the many that circulate during the holidays.

No, not "Merry Christmas," "What do you want from Santa?" or "Can I charge it?"

We mention "Peace on Earth" because we instinctively seek peace and its comfort.

We seek peace because of the horrors of the alternative. Among us are veterans, widows, orphans and observers of wars fought on Pacific islands, in European cities and farms, Southeast Asian jungles, Middle Eastern deserts, Balkan villages, and the odd bins of geographica such as Grenada, Panama and Somalia.

We take comfort in the absence of "hot wars" that engage our military and deplete our resources. We hope that the Cold War remains a closed chapter. We can do without the sequel. We keep thoughts of the threat of terrorism tucked deeply within our subconscious. If only we could replace the hate and mistrust that spur terrorism with sufficient communication and understanding to defuse it.

This year's national election debacle and the news that Christmas celebrations were canceled in Bethlehem were unpeaceful reminders we could have done without. When it comes to peace on earth, we aren't there yet.

Hot wars, cold wars and politics impact our lives, yet the forces that trigger these activities seem beyond our control. We yearn for a peace to which we can contribute and in which we can participate.

Peace on earth? How about peace on our part of the planet, in our town, under our own roof? It's possible if we adjust our focus. To begin to experience peace, we have to be weary enough of strife to make peace with ourselves, our families, our neighbors, our bosses, our coworkers, our competitors and our enemies. We have to be forgiving, even loving.

Too much to ask? A lot, yes, but not too much, at least for a couple of days.

'Tis the season.

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