Peace on Earth and peace in her heart. Migan McKenna tells the story of a woman who desired peace more than anything. But her frustration rose with every morning paper. In a world falling apart, where is peace?
One day she decided to go shopping. She walked into an odd store she had never noticed before and was surprised to see a man who looked like Jesus behind the counter. She finally got up her nerve and asked, "Excuse me, are you Jesus?"
"I am," the man answered.
The woman was thrilled! Jesus not only worked at the store, he was the store owner and when asked what he sold:
"Just about everything," Jesus said. "Feel free to walk up and down the aisles, make a list, see what it is you want and then come back and we'll see what we can do for you."
So the woman checked out every department and scanned every aisle. There was an amazing assortment of gifts: peace in the family, an end to drug use, plenty of food for all and -- sure enough -- peace on Earth and peace for the heart.
She put them all on her list, which, by the time she got back to the counter was long indeed. Jesus took the list, skimmed through it, looked up at her and smiled. Then he bent down behind the counter and picked out all sorts of things, stood up and laid out the packets.
She asked, "What are these?"
"Seed packets," Jesus said. "This is a catalog store."
"You mean I don't get the finished product?" she said.
"No, this is a place of dreams. You come and see what it looks like, and I give you the seeds. You plant the seeds. You go home and nurture them and help them to grow and someone else reaps the benefits."
"Oh," she said. And she left the store without buying anything.
(From Migan McKenna in "Parables," cited in Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spiritual Literacy.)
McKenna's parable is fitting for this season. The central message of Christmas is that God became man to live for us and die for us and give us the free gift of being God's children, the free gift of peace on Earth.
There is nothing we can do to earn peace. It is the gift of God. However, there is much we can do to share peace and to share the Peace-Giver. We can make sure as many as possible have the best of all gifts under their trees. We who have been given the seeds of peace and hope must be busy in God's garden. One less "Ho! Ho! Ho!" and one more "Hoe! Hoe! Hoe!" (Sorry, sometimes I can't help myself.)
In this season, remember the prophecy of the birth of Christ given by John the Baptist's father:
"We have been rescued from our enemies, so we can serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness forever ... Because of God's tender mercy, the light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace." Luke 1:74-5, 78-9, NLT
Rick Cupp is the minister at Kenai Fellowship Church, Mile 8.5 of the Kenai Spur Highway. Sunday Bible classes are at 10 a.m. and worship is at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday worship and Bible classes are at 7 p.m.
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