“Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me,” I sing as I sit at my piano, picking out and practicing songs for two upcoming Christmas performances. I have so many Christmas favorites, and it gets hard to narrow my set list down to my top twelve. But as I ponder the flow of the performance and the message I want to weave through my set, the words of that song keep resounding through my thoughts.  

And yet, the words of I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day reply, “And in despair I bowed my head, There is no peace on earth I said. For hate is strong and mocks the song, of peace on Earth, good will to men.”  

We watch the news and listen to the radio, and peace is not a headliner. We hear of crimes and war and hate and prejudices. It’s overwhelming when I sit and ponder it. But what can I do? I think I often see the world as smaller than it is. I think, “How can I fix hunger? How can I heal hatred? How can I stop a war?” It’s an arrogant viewpoint, or maybe just ignorant. But, either way,I cannot solve any of these problems. These are God-sized problems.  

So…do I give up, throw in the towel, decide not to care?  

Matthew 5:9 says: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

I cannot stop world hunger. But I can donate to the local food shelf.  

I cannot heal the hatred and prejudices in this world, but I can step out of my comfortable social box (my neighborhood, my church congregation, my race, my social label) and get to know others who come from different faiths, cultures, and lifestyles, appreciating them for who they are and being a peaceful friend.  

I cannot stop the wars, as much as I wish I could. But I can forgive my brother and pray that in return he can forgive me.  

As we head into a holiday season with family members who stand on our last nerve and differ from us in political views, sense of humor, and priorities, let’s let it go! Let’s be peacemakers (and not in that self-righteous-y kind of way).  

I can only change who I am and what I do, and you can only change who you are and what you do.  

Peace – it begins with you and me. This Christmas, let’s truly let the peace begin with us.