I’m sitting in the library and across the street there is a group gathered. They are passing out food to those who have none. My husband points out two little boys, maybe eight or nine years old, running up to the people gathered around. They are carrying food as they race up to each person and after they hand out their food gifts they run back to the table where the food sits to grab another bag full and race as fast as they can to give more away. Their mothers, I assume, are coralling them back in away from people who didn’t come for the free food and who are just trying to go to the library. They are all laughing at these boys who are so eager to give away the food they carry. People stop to watch as the boys continue to race to each person, shoving bags of food into the arms of hungry people.
As I watch these boys my mind takes me back to the recent horrific event that took place in Newport, Connecticut a little over a week ago and I can’t help but think apocalyptically about the state of our world, our country, our lives. I know it’s depressing but I also know we all must feel this in some way when we receive the news like we did last week. What are we doing? Human beings are destroying each other; terrorism, wars, starvation, nuclear bombs, school shootings, suicides. The list goes on. Why can’t we all be more like these little boys?
Many of us have grown up in a world where we learn how to protect ourselves against bombs, to never walk down a dark alley alone, to say “no” to strangers, to be suspicious of people who are different. A world on guard, scared, afraid and broken. A very real and imminent Hell is born with every violent act. Every time we choose anger and hate we create a Hell on Earth, all it takes is one pull of the trigger.
And it’s almost Christmas. A time of gathering with family, friends and loved-ones. A time to give gifts to one another; a time to love, to help, to share. A time of Peace. My question now is why don’t the lessons of Christmas ever last beyond the season we have designated for it? When Christ came into the world, a chance at Peace came too. When God gives us this gift of Peace we have a very real chance at Heaven, here and now. Just as easily as we pull a trigger and create Hell we can choose love and open the gates of Heaven.
These boys, as they race to give away food, are choosing love. Often, especially as adults, I am afriad we miss this. We think Heaven comes to us after we die, and perhaps it does. But as strongly as I feel Hell can come to us in the way of violent shootings and pointless deaths, Heaven can come to us in these two little boys across the street racing to help those in need.
Heaven is here and now. It’s what the story of the birth of Christ teaches us. We have the power to make Heaven on Earth. Can you believe it? We have the power to realize Peace, here and now. How amazing is this? And we must work for Peace. We must run with every effort we have in our bodies in the race for Good and throw gifts into the arms of those in need. We absolutley must do this.
This Christmas, and every single day after and forever, let’s make Heaven our goal and never stop running the race for Peace on Earth.