CAPA Corner: The Perfect Gift

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    Trying to find the perfect gift?  During this time of year we hustle around trying to find the gift that will have special value or meaning to those to whom we give them.  However, the perfect gift for you to offer, this year, just might be found in a message proclaimed over 2000 years ago. 
    Luke 2:13-14:  13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" NKJV
   Henry W. Longfellow, in the song “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”, wrote the following:
I heard the bells on Christmas day Their old familiar carols play, And wild and sweet the words repeat Of peace on earth, good will to men.
And in despair I bowed my head "There is no peace on earth," I said, "For hate is strong and mocks the song Of peace on earth, good will to men."
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The wrong shall fail, the right prevail With peace on earth, good will to men."
    Peace and good will, at times, can seem to be illusive.  As mentioned in Longfellow’s song, undoubtedly hate can play a dominant role in this dilemma. The way we are mistreated by others can cause hurt and can lead to hatred and bitterness.  If not handled properly this can have adverse effects on our ability to obtain peace and manifest goodwill! 
    There was no one more mistreated than Jesus.  The very one who came to bring peace and goodwill was falsely accused, beaten and crucified.  Yet while hanging on the cross He said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”  Jesus’ mission was to bring about forgiveness and restoration thus bringing peace and good will to men.
    A powerful example of this is found in John 8:1-11.  A woman, who according to the law deserved to be put to death, was brought before Jesus. The scribes and the Pharisees wanted nothing to do with Jesus’ ways and were attempting to discredit him.  Jesus put forth a challenge to them, “He who is without sin let him cast the first stone”.  One by one all the accusers departed and left Jesus alone with the woman. Jesus asked her if anyone had accused her and she replied, “No one Lord.” Jesus then makes the powerful statement of forgiveness, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more”.  Forgiveness, God’s goodwill, brought peace and life to this woman.  What a tremendous gift!
    This Christmas, the best gift to discover is forgiveness!  First is the forgiveness Jesus Christ offers to all mankind and secondly is the forgiveness you can extend towards those who have wronged you.  If you discover and share the gift of forgiveness this Christmas, “The wrong shall fail, the right will prevail with peace on earth, goodwill to men.
Ron Erickson,
Future Hope Ministries