It's Christmas! On farms, as well as in cities and towns across America, we celebrate the season. From New York City's Rockefeller Center, with its 84-foot-tall Norway spruce Christmas tree, covered with 30,000 multicolored lights, strung on five miles of wire, to the family tree, cut by hand from the woods or purchased at Home Depot or Fred Myer, we decorate and celebrate.
Carols ring out from radios, TVs and store sound systems. Exchanging gifts fills our free moments these days.
On Dec. 14 and 15, George Frederick Handel's "Messiah" was presented in Kenai and Homer by the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra, four outstanding soloists and a 220-voice choir. Possibly the best known and loved piece in the Messiah is the "Hallelujah Chorus."
As I stood with the rest of the choir to sing this grand musical tribute to Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, "the rest of the story" suddenly came alive to my mind.
This song goes far beyond the babe lying in a manger, although that aspect of the Christmas story is a necessary prelude to it. It also goes far beyond both the cross and the resurrection, the glorious themes of the Easter Season.
No, this song is a paean of praise to the risen, living Savior who has now been crowned "King of Kings and Lord of Lords." He is now all that the wise men from the east had come to see; all that the angel choir had joyously envisioned as they sang; all that the prophets of old had spoken of.
He is the one who will bring true peace to our sad, disillusioned, war-filled earth. He will enable people of all races, colors and social standing to live together in genuine harmony and brotherhood.
TV, radio and newspapers speak much about the fighting in Iraq, unrest in Afghanistan and other international situations. Meanwhile at home, we hear of gang wars, domestic abuse, lack of integrity on the part of government officials and so on.
Only when the prince of peace comes will true peace be found on Earth. Meanwhile, we may have personal peace by recognizing and honoring him in our lives.
At this season of the year, let us once again focus our attention on the one whose birth marked another step in our Creator's plan to bring true peace and brotherhood to mankind. May it reflect that objective in each of our hearts and homes. As one song states: "Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin in me."
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given ... and the government shall be upon his shoulder ... and his name shall be called ... Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
Charles Thornton is pastor at-large of Peninsula Grace Brethren Church, 44175 Kalifornsky Beach Road in Soldotna. Sunday worship is at 11 a.m., and Bible classes begin at 9:30 a.m.
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