I’ve decided to reprise a post from last December for today’s essay. It’s about one of my favorite Christmas songs—the Wexford Carol. I love this line about baby Jesus. “He came on earth to end all strife.” I love the line, but it’s a little confusing. We desperately want peace, but strife marches on, so what’s up? Only Pure Love can end all strife, which is, of course, the point of the Baby.
Ultimately. And in the meantime, inwardly. (“Cease striving and know that I am God.” Psalms 46:10)
I keep thinking of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whose core message was peace. Yet he was involved in a plot to kill Hitler. How can a message of peace involve such deadly confrontation?
But the question can be turned around. How can a message of peace NOT confront evil? And further, how can we be people of peace without confronting evil?
Bonhoeffer said, “Christianity stands or falls with its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness and pride of power…and with its plea for the weak.” “Which of us has really admitted that God’s goodness can also lead us into conflict?” “There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared.”
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
I don’t think peace is the absence of strife. We’ve still got too much fighting to do (fighting good fights). Instead, I think it’s knowing that this peace is different. Better. It’s knowing that Pure Love will win ultimately…and in the meantime, inwardly.
Which is, of course, the point of the Baby.