Friday, December 2, 2011

Perspectives from the Field: Peace Should be More Than a Phrase on a Christmas Card

You’ve probably seen a greeting card that had the word “Peace” and it might have even included “Love” or maybe it said “Peace on Earth” but did the words have any meaning?

Memories of Christmas always make me think of two songs (“Peace on Earth” and “Silent Night”) with both being sung at the same time on Christmas Eve.  It sounds beautiful but it’s also a great reminder of an important part of what Christmas is all about.

Another holiday memory associated with church was actually on New Year’s and was with my college youth group when we had a peace vigil before Desert Storm.  This was very personal to me as my college roommate was among those going to Kuwait that year.  Little did I know that my own son would be spending a year in Iraq the NEXT time that our nation went to war with Iraq.  Now as we approach another holiday season, we’ve been promised that our troops will come home.

Of course, Peace isn’t just about things happening on the other side of the world or the presence or absence of war.  Peace includes how you treat your family, how you treat your friends, how you treat your neighbors and how you treat your enemies. That’s right, we need to remember to look for peace with those we love, those we like, those we hardly know and even those that we really would rather not interact with.

Each month, I close my blog with “youTheology: Loving God, Loving Neighbor” but have you thought about what that phrase really means?   If we LOVE God and we also LOVE our Neighbor, Peace should be a natural part of who we are as Christians.   I’ve now added the youTheology Mission Statement: “Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World, Now and In the Future.”  This includes reaching out to others that are different than us and creating an environment for peace today and tomorrow.

We need to make sure our youth understand that Peace and Love aren’t something that you TALK about; they aren’t just concepts; they are a way of life.

Speak up!  What are YOU going to do this Christmas season to show youth (and adults) an example of how to follow the Prince of Peace?

by Mark Whitaker

Youth and Young Adult Director, Communications Coordinator, & Scouting Rep
Avondale United Methodist Church in Kansas City MO (North of the River)
Advisory Board for youTheology / Marketing Coordinator

Loving God, Loving Neighbor 
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future

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