Close your eyes, pretend it’s snowing, and think about Christmas for a minute. (Okay, I know you don’t need snow for that – after all, I live in South Carolina.) Anyway, now think about shepherds on the hillside, listening in awe to the angels singing about peace on earth. It’s a wonderful message, but we all know they didn’t mean that moment was the end of war.
To borrow a cliché, war is ugly. Recently Wayne and I visited Fort Sumter in Charleston. We saw the big metal guns and the thick walls. We toured the museum where we were walked through the battles for control of the fort during the Civil War. We heard statistics about injuries and deaths. But the most powerful lesson was the American flag which had flown over the fort. It was spread out for us to see with frayed edges and numerous bullet holes. The day before, we had visited a plantation and walked down the slave street where we heard a story teller describe the oppressive life of slavery. I had no doubt the Civil war was necessary. But that doesn’t diminish the horror of it.
On a more hopeful note, this scripture promises that in the end, God will bring peace.
He’ll mediate between nations. There will be no more war.
Weapons will be turned into farm tools. People will enjoy their own vineyards and fig trees without fear. They’ll live everyday lives without conflict and they’ll be happy.
The mountain where He dwells will be higher than all the others; the most important place on earth. People from everywhere will stream there to worship Him and learn His ways and they will walk in His paths.
In the meantime, we can follow Him with that hope, even though the nations around us follow idols.