I got this essay today from a mailing list I'm on called Upper Room Reflections. I think it's a good thought to end the year on.
THE INFANT'S MESSAGE OF PEACE
IF WE ARE TO BE truly peacemakers, I think we must move beyond the notion of peace as the absence of conflict . ... Peace has to do with the fullness of things, with lion and lamb lying down together, not a world without lions. If we are to have hearts capable of the peace of Christ, which does indeed pass all understanding, we must have hearts capable of embracing the joy and the sorrow, the sacredness and the sin of the world. ...
The infant in the manger at Bethlehem comes with a message of peace, an announcement that all sad divisions, all the irreconcilable pieces of our public and private lives will be brought together in the celebration of "shalom" -- God's blessing, God's peace. This will not, I think, occur when conflict has ceased. For creative conflict is a necessary component of growth. Rather, peace will reign when our forgiveness of self and others is wide and deep enough to create new possibilities and, without the use of violence, to transform our seeming impasses into new freedoms and joys.
-- Wendy M. Wright THE VIGIL