The entire nation stood on the "tiptoe of expectation" not in anticipation of receiving more prosperity or material goods, but awaiting an "Awesome Ruler" who would lead and liberate a people who were living under human social, political, and economic oppression. This Prince, would be born to humble circumstances and familiar with the strain of labor, the pinch of poverty, and the burden of sorrow. A strange event and a strange way for the Messiah to be born.
It is also strange that the announcement or good news of this Divine intervention, which was a source of great joy for all people, was not dispatched via emissary to the royal halls of palatial splendor nor to cultures of high estate, but to those who worked in the fields and occupied the lowest positions in terms of rank or social status.
I believe that these strange details are designed to get our attention because we usually miss the ordinary. I also believe that what may be the strangest of all of the details surrounding the birth of Christ is that a choir, which is a host or army from heaven, is proclaiming a strange or unexpected message coming from a military assemblage - they are declaring Peace On Earth! Have we taken other parts of Christmas and thrown away this portion? Have we missed this aspect while emphasizing others in our celebrating?
In 2008, peace is appropriate because we have spent so many decades, even centuries, being conditioned for war and so little time preparing for peace. We have spent so much time practicing hate rather than love, so much money devoted for war and defense budgets and so little for peace budgets. What is the consequence? We are at war abroad with others and at home with ourselves and our children have inherited this fatal attraction to violence.
The word's of Talib Kweli's The Nature makes clear the reality of gun violence and easy access to weapons.
The people ain't got shoes for they feet, or food to eat
So they hurtin but what's for certain you can get you some heat
And over beef you laid to rest like you was gettin some sleep
Where the little kids get ammunition (word) you can't get no nutrition
Or any type of suitable living condition listen
They shoot you over that paper, its just survivalist human nature
to put you out of your misery like euthanasia (yeah)
The Children's Defense Fund's State of America's Children 2008 reports that in the latest reliable statistics, 2005, that 3,006 children and teens were killed by firearms, the equivalent of 120 public school classrooms of 25 students each. Another 16,000 children and teens suffered non-fatal firearm injuries. These 10 states account for 1,669 firearm deaths or 55.5% of the total 3,006 deaths:
Largest Number of Firearm Deaths of Children and Teens:
Top 10 States in 2005
New York 93
A lot of violence and battles arise out of wars raging from within as military adventures abound abroad and expenditures in correctional facilities expand accompanied by simultaneous reductions in education and mental or physical healthcare domestically. But without justice, there can be no peace.
There will be no peace as long as we substitute quietness for peace, making joint ventures with those who subjugate and oppress, or refuse to acknowledge the problem of injustice by "allowing sleeping dogs to lie." The African proverb states that just because the water is still does not mean that the crocodiles have left. Sleeping dogs of hate and evil come back to bite later and make a bigger mess.
And there will be no peace as long as there are conflicts going on within, inside our minds and souls. But if we are acquainted with the Prince of Peace, we can receive an unexpected peace, which surpasses understanding; a perfect and unbroken peace in the midst of storms and difficulties. That is what we often miss in the meaning of Christmas!
Pray For Peace!
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.