It was the battle cry of a generation: “Peace!” The war protestors of the 60s and 70s marched, chanting that word in the hopes of ending the Vietnam war. And they were certainly not the first. But they probably didn’t realize that peace runs far deeper than just the end of a war.
Peace is a condition of the heart, and in a good way. Being at peace means one has no regrets, no animosity, no hatred. It is one of the most difficult states a human being can achieve. And wishing peace to all, friend and foe, transcends the capability of most of us.
Ghandi, Mother Teresa, and certainly Jesus (whose birth is the reason for the season) come to mind as individuals who, despite being persecuted for their beliefs, wished for peace. Their wish was not just directed at their enemies. They realized that in order to rise above war and hatred, people must first be at peace with themselves.
The rationale behind being at peace is not unlike that of the fifth word of Christmas: forgiveness. It is truly easier, less stressful and much healthier to be at peace (and to forgive) than it is to be in a constant state of agitation. It may not be simple to achieve, but the road is paved with understanding and letting go. It requires practice and constant reinforcement, whether that be through prayer or meditation. But it is possible. And it is the greatest gift we could ever give ourselves.
Peace be with you, today and every day.