This Christmas, let goodwill bring the gift of peace

Christmas is almost upon us. What do you want? I mean: What do you really want?

If you’re like me, you can think of a few gifts that would be nice to unwrap: a good book, a new tool for the workshop, replacements for those brown shoes that sprang a leak last month.

But, if you’re like me, you also have an image in your head of what you really hope for this time of year: your family, relaxing, maybe snuggled together on a couch; darkness seeping in from the window, broken only by the soft glow of a Christmas tree, or, better, a warm fire; the lingering aroma of a just-finished dinner; and, above all else, a contented quiet throughout the house.

Maybe it’s the sepia sketch from a Christmas card past. Maybe it’s the mental picture you get when singing of chestnuts roasting on an open fire, a winter wonderland, or a promise to be home for Christmas. Maybe you’re lucky enough to be recalling an actual memory.

Regardless, the feeling it evokes is more spiritual than material. I’ll bet that the word that comes to mind is “peace.”

Yet — if you’re still like me — you fear that, as in most years, what you’ll get is: Can we open presents yet? Let’s watch “A Christmas Story” (again)! Who’s going to do the dishes?

And the disappointment you feel won’t have to do with getting another tie instead of a table saw, but with knowing that you’ll have to keep waiting for that annually sought respite.

If so, you may find an explanation in the opening words of another Christmas carol:

It came upon the midnight clear,

That glorious song of old,

From angels bending near the earth,

To touch their harps of gold:

“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men,

From heaven’s all-gracious King.”

Now, I personally believe the parts about angels and heaven’s all-gracious King. But for those who don’t share my beliefs, as well as those who do, let me turn your attention to the words “goodwill to men.”

The lyricist, a 19th-century Massachusetts pastor, took the words of “that glorious song of old” from the New Testament — specifically, Luke 2:14. But various biblical translations phrase the part about goodwill quite differently. One reads, “peace on earth to men of goodwill.”

Read that way, goodwill — which Webster’s defines as both “a friendly or kindly attitude” and “cheerful consent” — is a precondition of peace. If you sense a lack of peace in your life, or the world more broadly, I submit that you’re first picking up on our collective shortage of goodwill.

I’m not talking about the reason your family can’t sit peacefully in that dark, cozy den of your mind’s eye, for even a few minutes. Yes, our culture overwhelmingly focuses on the material over the spiritual or relational, in a way that creeps — barges, even — into our private-most lives. (And, yes, it may pass strange to receive those words from someone whose livelihood depends in large part on advertisements from the commercial sector.)

What I’m really talking about is the reason most of us wait for Christmastime to even dream of such a thing.

Try to find friendly, kindly attitudes in much of our political discourse. (I suspect it’s the absence of goodwill, or good faith, and not an unprincipled compromise, that most people mean when they bemoan a lack of “bipartisanship.”)

Try, most any day, to identify cheerful consent on our roadways, or on either end of the typical consumer-to-customer service telephone call. Heck, try to find goodwill in the words that come out of your own mouth each day. I know I often can’t.

And then look for ways to build goodwill with others on those days the world around you seems less than peaceful.

Merry Christmas.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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35 comments Add your comment

barking frog

December 22nd, 2010
8:09 pm

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and
your family.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

December 22nd, 2010
8:28 pm

I already received my Christmas gift this year, the dummycrats suffering the most humiliating electoral defeat in centuries, their butts bouncing of the pavement in front of government buildings all across the land.

For that, to all good cheer and glad tidings.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Qi6-_91P7c&feature=related

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

December 22nd, 2010
9:00 pm

As a special gift to readers of the Duh Report and those who are unable to travel this year, we are offering enhanced pat downs, so that you stuck at home this holiday season do not feel left behind, er, do not have your behind left unfelt, um, no behind left behind, whatever.

We do not discriminate against non travelers!

Those of the male persuasion need not apply, you little freaks.

Finn McCool

December 22nd, 2010
9:22 pm

My X-Mas gift is two straight weeks of Republicans reeling from the strategerizing prowess of a community organizer!

What a bunch of illiterate leg humpers these Republicans are!

Merry XMAS, X-MAS, EX-MAS, xMAS!

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

December 22nd, 2010
9:34 pm

McFool jacks my name and then calls Republicans leg humpers?

Grab while you can, klown, we’re gonna roll you back, just sayin…

JDW

December 22nd, 2010
10:02 pm

Appreciate the sentiment Kyle! I see barking frog shares the thought as do I.

Merry Christmas to all and if we are lucky perhaps Santa will bring us a bit of civility and goodwill to tide us through the New Year.

Finn McCool

December 22nd, 2010
10:11 pm

To paraphrase Lindsey Graham: “They are eating our lunch!”

mwuahahahahahahahahaha. The MOST EFFECTIVE Congress since the 1960’s is about to close up shop.

Look at all that Change… Too much Change… Reeling from Change.

Finn McCool

December 22nd, 2010
10:13 pm

How’s that hope and change doing for us liberals?

Pretty sweet, actually.

Finn McCool

December 22nd, 2010
10:24 pm

What is truly sad about the Republican attitude on the 9/11 first responders vote is that we have seen this before when it involved taking care of our troops.

Republicans like to talk all patriotic: “support the troops”, etc, etc. They get all a-flag wavin’ until it comes time to vote for something that involves veterans benefits and health. Then Republicans need more time to think about it or some other delaying tactic. Then they need to draw the line and are “too concerned with how much it’ll all cost”.

I clearly recall McCain voting against extending and upgrading veterans benefits a few years ago. McCain…a vet himself.

Republicans are truly pathetic.

Finn McCool

December 22nd, 2010
10:24 pm

Michael H. Smith

December 23rd, 2010
4:11 am

[There is] a time of war, and a time of peace (read the rest in the book of Ecclesiastes). At the moment finding peace, dare say any good will among men (present company certainly excluded) is highly unlikely. Obviously the time for peace has not come. Then again, just as well. As it is written: When men cry peace, then comes sudden destruction (paraphrase). So let it be.

Unfortunately peace will be talked about more than found, more sought after than obtained, with that declarative expressed, perhaps the good will spoken of can possibly continue in the absence of the rest?

Conservative’s first principle embodies the ideal of good will towards men. For every thought, every act taken should in fact always strive to enhance individual freedom and liberty. If it doesn’t, it is probably not conservative. Example: “net neutrality”. The FCC is in effect writing what soon will be law via “net neutrality” but the question begs asking whose freedom and liberty will be most enhanced? Will government’s freedom and liberty be further extended, as has to often been the case? Will the freedom and liberty of corporations take the lion’s share of the bounty? Dare anyone ask what portion the individual shall be left, if anything? Though it is the freedom and liberty of the individual that should be enhanced; while the two titans, government and commerce, are muzzled in restraints.

What happened Republicans to your government of the people, by the people, for the people, that shall not perish from the earth? It certainly has perish from your Party! Your founder, Lincoln, was a Progressive and he was a not a pee-gressive of the present “Socialist Liberal” (Democrat) genus that has stolen the label to hide behind (understandably they do have alot to hide!)

Today’s Republican no longer sides with the people, as now today’s Republican (Closeted Libertarian) is in a quest to serve a government of commerce, by corporations and for the Corporatist to enhance those interests with the “unlimited” freedom and liberty of laissez-faire.

Lincoln’s progressive-ism sought real PROGRESS “marching forward” for the individual, not progress that “leans forward” for the government as the pee-gressive Socialist Liberals want it. Lincoln’s progressive-ism was populist in that his focus was on the people, which was not always popular. He evoked the name of government only once, while evoking the name of the people three times. That is a canon conservatives, by which today’s Republican should measure and be measured by if you call yourself a Republican with thoughts of Lincoln in mind, you should enhance the freedom and liberty of the people by three times as much compared to anything that is given to government or commerce in collateral freedom or liberty.

Yes, good will towards the people, by the people and for the people, Kyle.

Joel Edge

December 23rd, 2010
7:16 am

Merry Christmas to all.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

December 23rd, 2010
7:32 am

Obama lauds ‘a season of progress’ -Urinal

Celebrating pointless legislation that amounts to nothing, mixed in with some fri-volous spending, it doesn’t take much to excite a pinko, does it?

A Hearty Cheese Sauce

December 23rd, 2010
7:34 am

What I want for Christmas…

Obama out of office.
Biden to do a Comedy tour.
Pelosi to be lost at sea.
Reid to be taken prisoner by a group of gay militants.

A nice McCallan 21.
A Porshce.
My stock portfolio to increase 35% for 2011.
Did I say Obama out of office.
1 to 3 inches if Snow on Christmas day.
No snow to fall at Finns house and for Finn to help those unfortunates down in Woodruff park.

To awaken with Toni Braxton on one side of me and Lil Kim on the other.

carlosgvv

December 23rd, 2010
7:47 am

I Report – Finn McCool

If your idea of a very good Christmas gift is the perceved troubles of a political party then you are truly pathetic.

@@

December 23rd, 2010
9:06 am

Merry Christmas to you too, Kyle.

…try to find goodwill in the words that come out of your own mouth each day.

Political correctness is highly overrated. What….is it better to insult someone and then put a smiling emoticon AFTER the insult? Doesn’t seem very sincere to me. I prefer the truth. I can handle the truth. Not my problem that others are offended by it.

Andy:

Merry Christmas!!!!!!

Will

December 23rd, 2010
9:15 am

Let me preface my remarks by acknowledging that I tend to lean to the left on most issues politically. As such, the last two years have been pretty disappointing and the November election, although not unexpected, was a real bummer. In Georgia, it appears that no more than one of every ten white, straight male voters share my politics! I will most likely be dead before democrats regain any Constitutional Office or either chamber of the General Assembly.

In this season of Good Will, I would like to thank a surprising number of republicans who appear to be more than just politicians. Starting with Robert Gates, who represents the best of non-partisan service to our Republic and continuing with the 13 senators who, unlike their senate leader, who put aside any concern of giving our President a photo op for victory and ratified a treaty that had no reason for opposition outside of petty politics, to those republicans who helped our brave patriots serving our Republic put aside their fears that someone would ask or would tell and end their military careers, to those republicans who saved the tax cuts and realize that not everyone receiving unemployment benefits is a free loader, I say to you that my belief that all republicans want is to destroy our President regardless of the good of the country is incorrect.

I have thought long and hard if the shoe had been on the other foot, would a similar number of democrats broken ranks and done likewise. In all honesty, probably not.

Intown

December 23rd, 2010
9:17 am

Yes. That’s a very long-winded way of saying Be a Mensch! You gentiles make everything so complicated. And when Christmas arrives you generally are foolish enough to pay retail! ;)

G-d bless you and merry Christmas!

Dusty

December 23rd, 2010
10:35 am

Well, thank you, Kyle, for the fine Christmas message. Sounds good to me. Peace on earth. Good will towards men. And women!! Let the peace begin. (Uh oh..that means stop blogging !! awww)

JoeFann

December 23rd, 2010
10:41 am

Merry Christmas, Kyle, to you and yours, and even to the anti-goodwill banterers on your blog. I agree that “goodwill to men” is hard to find these days, in most places, and that its lack thereof is the primary contributor to most of the quibbles among our various tribes. When we spend all (or most) of our time being concerned about I/me/mine, we leave little energy for the concerns of others. I’m reminded to try to live out the theme of another tune: “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” Peace, to all. Selah.

Question Authority

December 23rd, 2010
11:03 am

I can think of no better way to build goodwill towards the rest of the world than to bring all american troops home to america to defend america and to close all of our overseas bases, shut down the CIA foreign government manipulation sector, and send the message to the world that the united states of america is focussing on its own problems instead of causing problems with other countries around the globe. Yeah, like that’s got any chance in hell of ever happening.

Raymond Huffman

December 23rd, 2010
11:04 am

So, do the Republicans now like Obama now that he gave them everything they’ve been whining about for the last 2 years?

Road Scholar

December 23rd, 2010
11:08 am

My Whiner, you’re in your Holiday spirit?!? Is this as nice as you can be? Santa may not waste his time on you! Bless your heart!

For the rest of the bloggers and esp to Kyle, Merry Christmas and may the new year be better than ever. Peace!

Kyle Wingfield

December 23rd, 2010
11:26 am

Just a PSA, in case you missed the Gone a-Wassailing post upstairs, that all comments on the blog are going through moderation while I’m on vacation, i.e. until Tuesday. I’ll try to get to them before then when I have a chance. Thanks for your understanding.

Hillbilly Deluxe

December 23rd, 2010
11:33 am

Kyle

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

joe

December 23rd, 2010
11:44 am

LMAO at Finn Mc and all other libs who think for a second that the Almighty one, who has had a good couple of weeks–but only b/c the Repubs allowed him to have them by voting for some of his proposals, will have anything close to perceived effectiveness over the next two years is in for a rude awakening. With the new congress taking shape in Jan, the GOP will start pushing their agenda of repealing healthcare followed by immigration reform. B.O. won’t accomplish anything in the next 2 years unless the GOP house allows him to do so. What does this mean? He’ll be out in 2012, businesses will start hiring and all will be well soon enough…we just need to hang on for a little while longer until then. Have a Merry Christmas!!!

BS Aplenty

December 23rd, 2010
11:55 am

Mr.Wingfield, I appreciate your bend toward “goodwill” as the prerequisite to peace. I would only add that a heavily-armed U.S. Marine is the sure-fire way to wrench such goodwill from men. Even when they don’t wanna.

Semper Fi and Merry Christmas especially to all the troops in the Middle East.

Question Authority

December 23rd, 2010
12:57 pm

The american empire knows not the ways of peace. Just look at Iraq. When Saddam was in power the Christian community benefitted from religious freedom. Now under the auspices of the american occupation regime they are cancelling Christmas. Meanwhile here in america the mere mention of the word Christmas in many settings will get you in trouble with the PC police. Certainly we are all reaping the expected “benefits” of allowing any group of people to call themselves the government and to rule our lives. The world is certainly “benefitting” in the same manner from the ever-reaching “benevolence” of our “leaders.”

JF McNamara

December 23rd, 2010
2:35 pm

I think “I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin… ” missed that whole point about Goodwill…

Merry Christmas All.

Rafe Hollister

December 23rd, 2010
6:46 pm

Merry Moderation and Christmas Kyle.

Finn has been deep in the Nog rich Egg Nog and is spouting his usual left wing lunacy.

Raymond, no we don’t like Obama or sell outs like Johnny Isakson.

May the New Year bring Peace and Prosperity to all Americans, including the rich. 2011 brings us hope and change again, this time for the better.

nose4news.

December 24th, 2010
7:27 am

Our troops have stealthily decorated a huge tree in Afghanistan where the Taliban roam. When motion detectors sense the overdressed, underaccessorized pests, the xmas tree lights up like a christmas tree. That triggers a redundant cross-fire from triangulated smart-mortars which suddenly open up with Bouncing Betties, Bangalore torpedoes, and fragmentation grenades.

This has been particularly effective because the Taliban stick around to open the phoney presents under the tree.

Who needs Santa to figure out who’s naughty or nice, eh?

Grandpa Grizzly

December 24th, 2010
10:46 am

Peace on Earth Through Superior Firepower.

Crenshaw8

December 24th, 2010
2:36 pm

Goodwill you say? Were I a moonbat lib, Obama’s will would replace God’s good but I’m not.

Thank God! Liberalism is a mind-blowing disorder in this country.

Boom, no Bust in 2012.

killerj

December 24th, 2010
4:04 pm

May all those who lost their homes to no fault of their own find it in their heart to forgive those involved who still have theirs,retribution will come,I truly believe in karma,Merry Christmas,may the food be the best you ever had!

Paulo 977

December 27th, 2010
11:39 am

Finn McCool @9:22am and what a grand pre X’mas gift it was!!
“strateregizing prowess of a community organizer ” ! Have to hand it to you you always have a good handle on what is really going on. Strangely enough quite a few liberals failed to discern what the guy was attempting in the context of the mess he had inherited!!!