and he shall be the one of peace...
- Micah 5.5
There is usually hope in our kitchen window but this month there's peace. Let me explain.
We have a Christmas ornament that stays up year round - a silver star with the word hope etched across it. The small beacon hangs in our kitchen window, directly in my line of vision from the table where I write. Some people have a crucifix above their bed. Some people have the serenity prayer hanging in the hall. We keep the star of hope suctioned above the kitchen sink. But its not there right now. It has been temporarily replaced with an ornament my mom sent us, a fist-sized red jingle bell with some holly atop and the word peace emblazoned across it. I guess my wife made the switch when I wasn't looking/writing.
One of my masculine rituals before retiring each evening is to draw the blinds. Draw the blinds - isn't that a glorious phrase? I realize that sounds like we're British or something but we're not; we're southern. Anyway, last night, peace got in the way. The bottom of the blinds caught on the holly atop the bell, threatening to knock it off the window. If this were to happen the bell could possibly fall in the sink causing a late-night ruckus loud enough to wake the Beagle. In the south, we let sleeping dogs sleep. This was not the first time this December that this scenario threatened to play, but it was the first time I stopped to pay attention.
Now this doesn't happen with hope; the blinds are drawn down effortlessly over the streamlined star, I can do it with one hand. But not so with peace. I had to reach with my non-drawing hand and pull the blinds away from the window a little, making room for the bell and its accoutrement. Alright, alright, I know - get to the point John and stop using french sounding words.
Peace seems to be a two-handed affair. I only have two hands, I'm betting you do too, so we could say peace takes all we've got. And why? Peace is awkward, kinda large, not so, well, peaceful. If hope is easy like Sunday morning, then peace is difficult like Mondays. God's whirl of peace on earth/goodwill to men reached dervish on that two-handed affair known as the cross.
And peace always brings with it the risk of ruckus. If I were God I might be tempted to let sleeping dogs lie; you know - silent night and all is bright. But I'm not God. You might say but I'm not sure how much commotion was caused on that blessed night; I mean, he was a baby after all. I'm gonna roll the dice here and say there was quite a hootenanny in the birth canal of round yon virgin as she rocked on tweener knees, laboring under mother Eve's curse, until the one of peace spilled out on blood-stained hay. I imagine an exhausted Mary handing her newborn over to Joseph: Here, take him. And God's man-mid-wife had to use both hands to manage the swaddled boy. The silver star of hope shone easy over Bethlehem's cave that night, as the blinds were drawn. But inside, God's new lungs took in their first draughts of Word-brewed-air...and out came the cries of peace.