Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Man
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27
I’ve often marveled at how horses are a horseman’s peace, and generally become so in whatever form we need. Trail riding, raising foals, showing, jumping, racing, driving – there are literally hundreds of different equestrian disciplines, and types of horses. The discipline we choose to practice uniquely meets our individual desires and needs.
Whatever form our equestrian pleasure takes, there will be experts available to teach us the right way to practice it. We have a propensity to look toward these teachers as gurus of a sort. I commonly meet people who have lost, or never developed, their innate ‘horse sense’ because they’ve been too focused on learning from other people. While learning the science, they’ve neglected the art – and heart – of horsemanship.
This is a shame, since God-given teachers may come to help us along our journey. . .but it is ultimately horses who must teach us what we need to understand about horses. The best teachers help us develop our sensitivity as well as our knowledge, and remind us that theory alone avails us nothing. At some point we need to discover and develop faith in our personal ability to correctly read, relate to, and effectively work with our equine companions. The secret to success? Personal practice, combined with heightened sensitivity and the desire to know, to understand – to connect on an entirely personal level.
Religious experts at the time of Christ’s birth had all kinds of rules and theories regarding his appearance. They expected the Messiah/Savior to make a grand entrance. Not so. He entered the world quietly, and Mary and Joseph were on their own to receive Him. I believe this is a sacred picture of the way we each receive Him into our lives. . .not with firework displays and elaborate signs or vows. He does not come merely as a result of religious knowledge or observances. He may take a form other than that which we have been taught to expect. The signs of His coming are usually subtle, the reception is intimately personal, and the only vow is that which has been promised by God: “Peace. . .Good Will. . .
To recognize the signs of Christ’s presence in our lives, and receive the attendant promises, requires only the desire to know Him, faith in our God-given ability to do so, and a willingness to practice being personally in His presence. And should our faith fail at times? Well, that’s why the promise is from God to us, and not the other way around. Being only human, I fail God every day of my life. Praise God, He will not – cannot! – fail me.
God’s immutable faithfulness, then, is our true peace on earth. It is my heartfelt wish that we all may experience a growing measure of that “Peace that passes understanding” this holiday season, and always.
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 8:10-12
Then 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. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “ Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:10-14