Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Peace On Earth, Can It Be?

And here's my main newsletter article "From the Pastor's Desk"

As a child I can remember waiting for, and watching, all of the Christmas specials that used to come on TV. First we’d wait, expectantly, for the ads announcing when Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer, or A Charlie Brown Christmas, or The Little Drummer Boy would be on. Then we’d sit in anticipation waiting for 8 o’clock to come around to watch those shows. We must have been one of the last households in my neighbourhood to get a colour TV so there was renewed anticipation to see all of our favourites in colour. These days we don’t have the same kind of anticipation because we own all of our favourites on video or DVD and sometimes it’s hard to find time in the busy Advent and Christmas schedule to watch them all.

Something we don’t have on video, and something you don’t seem to see as much of these days, are the Christmas variety specials. I recall sitting with my parents and watching the annual special by Bob Hope or Andy Williams or Lawrence Welk or Bing Crosby. Why don’t today’s stars make those kinds of specials anymore? Or why don’t the networks produce those kinds of shows anymore?

I recall those specials because yesterday, driving in the car, I heard a duet on the radio by Bing Crosby and David Bowie. I remember the song and I remember watching the Bing Crosby special when it first aired. I looked it up and it was originally performed in 1977 (I was 11 years old). I’m guessing that some of the people who were watching because they were fans of Bing Crosby didn’t have a clue who David Bowie was. He was a famous rock star (still is kind of) and I knew who he was even if I was a little too young to be familiar with his music. They sang a duet where Bing Crosby sang The Little Drummer Boy and David Bowie sang a song called Peace On Earth. The words to the Peace On Earth song go like this.

Peace on Earth, can it be
Years from now, perhaps we’ll see
See the day of glory
See the day, when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again

Peace on Earth, can it be

Every child must be made aware
Every child must be made to care
Care enough for his fellow man
To give all the love that he can

I pray my wish will come true
For my child and your child too
He’ll see the day of glory
See the day when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again

Peace on Earth, can it be
Can it be

These days, again, the question remains, "Peace on Earth, can it be?" Near the end of the church year we heard a scripture reading from Mark that said "nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom" (Mk 13:8). To begin Advent the scripture reading talks about "Fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world" (Lk 21:26). The fear of war and the wish for peace is nothing new. When we arrive at Christmas we will hear the words of the angel song "Glory to God ... and on earth peace" (Lk 2:14).

We pray for that peace to come. "God of glory, break the yokes of war and oppression that plague our world, establish your peace among nations, and uphold it with justice and righteousness for all peoples." After a time of waiting we finally celebrate Christmas, after the winter solstice, after the amount of sunlight each day has begun to increase, after the darkness has given way to the sun. Then we hear that "those who walked in darkness have seen a great light" (Isa 9:2). Then we remind ourselves, as well, that God is with us. We can have a "peace which surpasses all understanding" (Phil 4:7) because the Prince of Peace has come to us and abides with us.

May peace be with you this Advent and Christmas season and may the rich presence of God be cause for you to join in the song of the angels. "Glory to God."

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