Peace and goodwill for all
When we let divine Love, rather than frustration or anger, impel our thoughts and actions, every interaction with others becomes an opportunity to further “peace on Earth, goodwill to men” – a promise for all people and for all time.
“Peace on Earth, goodwill to men.”
It was a beautiful, peaceful evening in my childhood. The sky was slowly turning into a starry quilt that blanketed my part of the world. As I sat on a hillside, looking over the farms and woods surrounding my home, breathing the honeysuckle-scented air, arm resting on my dog, those words came to thought. And I was filled with an awareness that they weren’t meant for some unknown future time. Nor were they limited to the biblical era or Christmastime. Rather, they are a promise for here and now.
I was learning in Christian Science Sunday School that God is our ever-present, all-knowing, all-powerful, and wise divine Parent, who not only made everything that was made – including each of us – but made it good.
And wouldn’t someone who created and loves something want to keep it safe?
In my church, these words by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, grace the front wall: “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 494). Love, the Bible tells us, is another name for God. And this divine Love keeps watch over creation, meeting our every need.
Peace and goodwill are definite needs. God is with us each and every moment, sending us angels, or spiritual thoughts that bring peace and goodwill. But to experience such outcomes more consistently in our day-to-day activities and relationships requires something of us – receptivity to the spiritual fact of the supremacy of God, good.
Some years ago, my family moved into a new home. Almost from the start, there were issues with one of our neighbors. I would wave, but they wouldn’t even look at me. If words were spoken, they were usually harsh and critical.
I would think to myself, “How can I expect everyone in the world to get along when I am finding it hard to even like my neighbor right next door?” I prayed about this on and off for years. I never stopped waving. I never stopped trying to be neighborly. But things didn’t change.
One day, tired of trying to fix things, I mentally and wholeheartedly turned to God in prayer. What came to me was that nothing can extinguish God, divine Love, or Love’s ideas. God is immortal, permanent, ever present. Sometimes, as a cloud hides the sun, anger or resentment may obscure that Love from our thought. But it can never be extinguished.
There is a way out of every inharmonious situation that is above all human planning. It is a divine solution, revealed by divine Principle. I realized that I had to let go of any willfulness about how to make things better, and instead see what was already there: divine Love and its beautiful, tender, harmonious expression. That is all that truly exists.
From that moment on, the rudeness and indifference ceased to bother me. I saw that these actions were not reflective of divine Love, and therefore had no staying power. They were no part of anyone’s true nature as God’s child, because as the image and likeness of divine Love, we are made to express kindness and patience.
One Christmas, my husband and I made cookie platters to share with the neighborhood. When it came to this particular neighbor, we tried several times to take a platter over, but they were never home. It was tempting to think, “Why bother? They don’t like us anyway,” and to just eat the cookies. But then at one point, right in the middle of the day, it came to me to take the cookies over that very minute.
One of the neighbors met me at the door, quite surprised, but thrilled with the treats. From that time on, the relationship became congenial – with talking, smiling, and waving as if the years of indifference and harshness had never existed. And in God’s reality, they never had.
Mrs. Eddy writes in her book “No and Yes,” “In every age and clime, ‘On earth peace, good will toward men’ must be the watchword of Christianity” (p. 44). My experience with the neighbors is nothing compared to some of the issues the world faces. But every interaction in our lives has the potential to send out a rippling effect of love, peace, and goodwill, proving in some measure that peace and goodwill to all are indeed present possibilities.
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