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A Wish for Peace at Christmas!

22 December 2015 No Comment

Italian-Christmas-TraditionsThe Christmas season is here again and, as every year at this time, people all over the world are getting ready to have a party and celebrate this very special event by inviting their relatives or friends for dinner or for even just a slice of cake. The atmosphere of festivity is everywhere, with streets and trees lit with colored lights and shopping malls crowded with buyers who are stacking up with gifts, food and drinks for the party. There’s no doubt about it, Christmas is indeed the most beautiful celebration in the entire world!

Yet, only a few weeks ago there was a spirit of fear hovering over people here in Europe, fueled by the unsettling news of traumatic events that shook the entire continent! The media debates are continuing to foment distrust towards immigrants, especially those professing other faiths, and there seems to be a psychological (or “spiritual”) warfare going on between faith and fear, love and hate, hope and despair …

These days the world’s future is being decided, not just by international conferences on the climate, or declarations of “war to the caliphate”, or the re-emergence of tensions between Russia and NATO, but especially by the harsh attitude of some European countries towards those fleeing from war and hunger. A few years ago it would have been unthinkable to see walls of barbed wire trying to prevent the entry of refugees in Europe, but it is evident that the old continent has not yet come to terms with its history and must redefine its own identity after centuries of struggle between those who want to set Christian values aside and those who are trying to defend them.

Syrian refugeesThe reality is that the refugees and immigrants who have somehow managed to arrive in Europe, risking their lives and those of their loved ones, have no intention to return to the countries from which they have fled! Europeans must learn to accept their presence, and one way to do it is by greeting them with a wish for peace at Christmas!

Salam Alaikum”! “Shalom Aleichem”!
Peace be with you” (John 20: 19, 21)!

Most religious people in the world (Muslims, Jews or Christians) greet each other with a wish for peace, although mostly within their religious community. It’s time that we all learn to greet those who belong to other cultures or beliefs by wishing them peace, and Christmas gives us the opportunity to do so!

Recently, people were interviewed with the question: “What do you wish for Christmas?”, and most of them answered: “Peace“! In a time when there’s an increasing public discussion is the necessity of war, more than ever we all have a great need for peace! Christmas offers us not only the message, but also the opportunity to make peace with ourselves and others! A type of peace that only God can give us!

God’s word tells us that it’s the very lack of peace within ourselves that puts us at war with others, and it also offers us the solution!

James 4: 1 What causes wars and fightings among you? Don’t they come from the desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Philippians 4: 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

To make peace with others, we have to make peace with ourselves! And to make peace with ourselves, we have to make peace with God, the only One who can give rest to our souls!

Psalm 62: 1 My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.

savior-is-born-painted-nativity_1326899_inl Two thousand and seven hundred years ago, the Scriptures foretold that “a child would be born”, a “son” who would be called the “Prince of Peace“.

Isaiah 9: 6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. The government will be on his shoulders, and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

From the days of the prophet Isaiah to date, there is only one child whose birth is celebrated every year all over the world, even in far eastern countries that are not traditionally Christian: “Baby Jesus“! There’s not another baby as important and famous in the history of mankind!

The birth of Jesus is at the center of human history! Even those who don’t believe in Him, or those of other religions, must use today’s date (2015 AD) counting from Jesus’ birth! It’s such an important event that it can never be forgotten by anyone in the whole world!

The birth of Jesus is also at the center of human destiny! Only those who welcome His birth in their hearts can understand the purpose of their life and see it through God’s eyes! Only then Jesus truly becomes the “Prince of Peace” who reigns over our souls and makes us “lie down in green pastures and beside quiet waters” (Psalm 23: 2)!

come-hand-finalMatthew 11:28 Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 … rest for your souls.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, I give it to you; let not your heart be troubled…

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.

It’s only by making peace with God that we can make peace with ourselves and others!

Ephesians 2:17 He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18 because through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

The Christmas story tells us that the announcement of Jesus birth was made by angels to humble shepherds, people often despised by others, such as the immigrants around us …

Luke 2:10 The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be the sign to you: you will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will toward men!

bethlehem 23
This is our wish for peace at Christmas!

May Jesus’ birth be an experience of peace and joy in your hearts every single day of the year!

Merry Christmas 2015!

Renato e Patrizia

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