large pizza. A green ribbon and bow tagged "Kitty" lay on the floor
The side of the mug bears the inscription, "Pizza on Earth."
At the time my mother gave it to me, with the Vietnam War scarcely
behind and the Cold War still encompassing us, I thought it was a
hilarious, sardonic commentary -- like the later bumper sticker,
"Visualize whirled peas" -- about the well-proven unlikelihood of
peace on Earth.
I'm not as cynical now as I was in the 1970s, yet peace on Earth
is no more evident. Many families celebrated Christmas this year with
loved ones fighting in Iraq. In the week before Christmas newspapers'
front-page headlines spoke of hostilities, violence and death.
Days before Christmas the deadliest attack on a U.S. military base
since the war began nearly two years ago occurred in Mosul. Not quite
the marking of a merry Christmas -- or a happy new year.
"So where is this 'peace of Earth, goodwill toward men' stuff?
When's it going to happen?" more than one person has wisecracked to
me. Some ask more earnestly.
Reasonable questions. After all, the prophet Isaiah, who said
there would come a day when men would "beat their swords into
plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks [and not] learn war
any more," also said the Christ, whose birth Christmas commemorates,
would be called the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 9:6)
Yet Jesus had also warned, "Do not think that I came to bring
peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have
come 'to alienate a man from his father, a daughter from her mother,
and a daughter-in-law from her mother-in-law. And a man's foes will
be those of his own household.... '" (Matthew 10:34)
So what about this "peace of Earth, goodwill toward men" stuff?
When is it going to happen? I asked several pastors in Huntington
Beach for help.
"God implemented the supreme peace initiative of the ages in
sending his only son Jesus as the perfect peace offering," Bill
Crouch, pastor of Fountain Spring Church, said. "Yet ... this Messiah
of peace must be received individually at a deeply personal level