When the nonviolent Jesus was born two thousand years ago into abject poverty to homeless refugees on the outskirts of a brutal empire, the story goes that angels appeared in the sky to impoverished shepherds singing, “Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth!”
Peace was coming to the world! They were so excited, they couldn’t contain themselves.
That’s what Christmas is about — the coming of “peace on earth.”
That child grew up to become, in Gandhi’s words, “the greatest nonviolent resister in the history of the world.” Jesus taught peace, lived peace and blessed peacemakers. “My peace is my gift to you,” he said. When we refused to learn “the things that make for peace,” he broke down and wept. He took action to end systemic injustice, and he did it in a nonviolent way and, for his civil disobedience, he was brutally executed by the Roman Empire and died forgiving his killers. When he rose from the dead, he came back not seeking vengeance or retaliation, but once again, offering his gift of peace. “Peace be with you,” he said over and over again. Now you practice nonviolence and go forth as a peacemaker into the world of war. That was his message…