Blessed are the Peacemakers (Beatitudes Part VII )

Blessed the peacemakers: for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)
As we enter into the Holidays ( Holy Days) and the Advent season, this subject is particularly applicable at this time of the year, not only is it the beginning of the Church calendar year but also during the course of Advent we are begning a new period of Anticipation and waiting.
This time of year is a time for people of all faiths all over the world who come together and celebrate with friends and family.
This time of year also can be very tragic, and stressful for many. Those things can cause stress, frustration, and anxiety that goes along with many relationships between all ofthe people in our lives.
We, as peple of faith, need to excercise some of our peacemaking skills during this time of year.
First, this is a good time of year to reach out to those people, who not only are friends and family who we have a good relationship with, but to those with whom we also have a strained relationship with.
“Mending fences” or “extending the olive branch” is the first step.  These gatherings can be a way to begin to work through some of the issues.  No matter who is “at fault” for the rift between you and the other person, or between two others with whom you have a relationship, the point is that if it is possible we can forgive, the other, even if we are the one who suffers, we can accept the issue for the sake of Christ, and offer up that experience in reparation for our own sins, and for the sins of our fellow man.  This in order to move beyond to building the bridge from hurt and hate to love and forgiveness.
We can excercise charity. In an effort to share our journey, AND our witness with others about what has happened and how it is that God has worked through us and through others to work out your challenges.
In charity we can open our homes, and our hearts.  We can share with others who have little or nothing at all.  Others who have no place to go, and no one to share these days with.   We do not need to wait until the exact dates of Christmas, or Hannuka or Kwanza
Many Charities and Service organizations will share that they receive an outpouring of gifts during the holiday season and they are thankful for that, however, after that season is over things are thin.   Looking at this phenominon we can attribute this experience to two things.
There are people who take this time to get in touch with God and the spirit that moves within, causing them to look at what is going on in their lives and believe that they should share of their bounty with others.
The other point is that the giving is more occurs to make us feel better instead of other more altruistic purposes.
For people of faith, the process of giving is not only a good and necessary part of their faith life but even if the plan and the effort and the love is there you can not help but receive the gifts of love in return for the love that you share.   Love is that way.
When true selfless love is the aim and the gift, love and joy are the gifts you receive.
In the caring for Jesus, present in the person of our brothers and sisters, then it is a joy to recognize that presence and share in the service of our fellow man.
There are even days when the “joy” does not come in the beginning of the effort but at the end !  Many of the spiritual shepherds who tend the their particular flocks carry the same very human reactions to the call of duty, but they still rise above and go to serve.  This, only to find that in the end the greatest gifts are the ones they receive.
Gifts receieved and lessons learned, and in the end Love that is shared and grown makes the care of our brothers and sisters, and the efforts spent in making the world more peaceful indeed, are the gifts for us all !



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