Peace and Goodwill

Advent, the prelude to Christmas, is upon us. It is the season of peace on earth and goodwill toward all. And yet we still have war, conflicts, and unprovoked attacks on innocent people. Peace and goodwill are nice sentiments, but we have a ways to go to achieve them. I thought you might be encouraged to read what a few insights have said about peace and goodwill.

From Dr. Martin Luther King

First up, thoughts from 1967, the last Christmas sermon Martin Luther King preached at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta a few months before he was assassinated.

“We have neither peace within nor peace without. Everywhere paralyzing fears harrow people by day and haunt them by night. Our world is sick with war. And yet, my friends, the Christmas hope for peace and goodwill toward all can no longer be dismissed as a kind of pious dream of some utopian. If we don’t have goodwill toward men (and women), we will destroy ourselves. Wisdom born of experience should tell us that war is obsolete. (L)et us this morning think anew on the meaning of that Christmas hope: “Peace on Earth, Good Will toward Men (and women).”

(A)ll life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality.”

From Malala Yousafzai

In 2014 Malala Yousafzai became the second Pakistani, the first Pashtun, and the youngest person to receive the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize. She was 17 at the time. Her acceptance speech reflects both her depth and youth.

“I would like to thank my parents for their unconditional love . . . my father for not clipping my wings and for letting me fly. (M)y mother for inspiring me to be patient and to always speak the truth. (M)y wonderful teachers, who inspired me to believe in myself and be brave.

I am pretty certain that I am also the first recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize who still fights with her younger brothers. I want there to be peace everywhere, but my brothers and I are still working on that.

We are living in the modern age and we believe that nothing is impossible. We have reached the moon 45 years ago and maybe will soon land on Mars. Then, in this 21st century, we must be able to give every child quality education.

Dear sisters and brothers, dear fellow children, we must work… not wait. Not just the politicians and the world leaders, we all need to contribute. Me. You. We. It is our duty. . .Let us become the first generation to decide to be the last, let us become the first generation that decides to be the last that sees empty classrooms, lost childhoods, and wasted potentials. Let’s begin this ending together, today, right here, right now. Let’s begin this ending now. Thank you so much.”

From Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work among the poorest of the poor in Calcutta. She knew a thing or two about things that make for peace.

“Let us not use bombs and guns to overcome the world. Let us use love and compassion. Peace begins with a smile. Smile five times a day at someone you don’t really want to smile at; do it for peace. Let us radiate the peace of God and so light His light and extinguish in the world and in the hearts of all men (and women) all hatred and love for power.

Today, if we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other-that man, that woman, that child is my brother or my sister. If everyone could see the image of God in his neighbor, do you think we would still need tanks and generals?”

From John F. Kennedy

Former  President John F. Kennedy delivered his peace speech at American University in June 1963, a few months before he was assassinated.

“I have, therefore, chosen this time and this place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived–yet it is the most important topic on earth: world peace.

What kind of peace do I mean? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children–not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women–not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.

So let us persevere. Peace need not be impracticable, and war need not be inevitable. By defining our goal more clearly, by making it seem more manageable and less remote, we can help all peoples to see it, to draw hope from it, and to move irresistibly toward it.”

May you have peace within and goodwill all around you.

If you enjoyed this, pass it along to a friend. Mayflower Chronicles: The Tale of Two Cultures tells how the Pokanoket people and the newly arrived English “Planters,” or as we know them, Pilgrims, established terms of peace back in 1621. I’d love to speak to your book club, library, or organization about this fascinating history. Contact me at HowWiseThen to make arrangements. Sign up to receive free weekly blogs and/or my monthly newsletter there as well.

Mayflower Chronicles: The Tale of Two Cultures is available wherever books are sold in paperback, eBook, and audio. (Supporting local Indie Bookshops)
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