You Won’t Ask? I will provide anyway!I
As you experience the grace of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, may you know the peace of the Babe, held in His mother’s Arms.
Can We Know Peace? Snoopy and the Red Baron & the real Story
As we look at the world, at Afghanistan, Syria, the Ukraine, as we hear of more shootings, and protests here in America, as we hear of disasters and people living in poverty, looking at a romanticized view of the manger causes… dissonance.
How can this be the same world?
My mind wandered back to a more peaceful time, or at least, It was in my mind. In a small New Hampshire town, the news of the Vietnam War was far more distant than the wards of today… and life seemed at peace.
I remember listening to Christmas music, on our record player, the albums that would get pulled out, year after year. One of my favorites was a group called Royal Guardsman, and their Christmas song was about Snoopy.
Yes, Charlie Brown’s dog, and a fight he had with Baron Manfred Richtofen in World War I, on Christmas Eve. A battle about to end with snoopy getting shot down, when the bells of Christmas began to ring in the village below,
The chorus was
“Christmas bells those Christmas bells
Ring throughout the land
Asking peace of all the world
And good will to man”
And for a moment, there was peace.
Such actually happened in World War I, not between two pilots, but two armies. For an evening, they laid down their rifles, they silenced their artillery, and as one man started singing silent night, men from his army joined their voices to his, then the other army did as well.
For an evening, as bells chimed from churches, announcing the birth of Jesus, there was peace.
Can that happen today?
Will we know if it does?
Can we know peace in War?
That question God wanted to ask…. Yeah
In the days of King Ahaz, in the time described in our Old Testament reading from Isaiah, there was a war.
We know the passage so well, because of the prophecy of Mary, and the name, Immanuel, which means Immanent or Immediate God. It is from where we get our blessing, “The Lord is with you!.”
Jerusalem was going to get run over, brutally run over….surrounded by armies,
In order to provide for God’s people, a prophet is sent to break this new to them.
God asks the king, “let me prove I will be with you through these times, ask me for something to confirm it….Let me give you and answer for the questions you will ask.
Ask, and you shall receive…. Jesus will ask us, centuries later….
Ahaz refused to answer, for whatever reason.
I won’t put you to the test…. I won’t demand you prove your presence, your love, I won’t depend on you God, no matter what threatens me. That’s Ahaz voice, defensive, dismissive….
Will we doubt the One who was promised, the babe born to a virgin, the One who would remind us that God is with us? That God has promised to deliver His people, and bring them, bring us safely home?
Will we hear it, more than this night!
Many of our wars aren’t military battles, nor even do they include weapons. They are wars with our neighbors, or our families,, skirmishes and fights with friends. Civil wars within our hearts, within our souls.
We need to hear that God wants us to ask of Him, we need to seek Him out, we need to realize that He will prove that He is as here this night
We need to know He is Immanuel, our God, with US.
That is what this night, these songs, these readings are all about. It’s why we gather. It ‘s why we are here……
and we are why He is here….
We are why this baby doesn’t just belong here… in the manger, but here, on the altar.
The sacrifice that we would know peace.
During a war, nearly 100 years ago, the bells pealed out, and the war was forgotten,… and men sang the praises of God, who came and dwelt among us…
To bring us the peace of heaven…..
So seek, and knock and ask….
And realize the answer was first seen, as a young lady laid her newborn babe in a manger, and God the Father offered Him as the sacrifice to prove Himself to be our God, and to make us His people.