by Dennis Peacocke
It has often been said by older, more experienced people that «perspective is everything.» When I first heard this phrase years ago, I was strangely «haunted» by it. Now I am older and understand a measure of what this phrase means. Indeed, perspective is the ability to perceive what really is important in the long run and how everything else fits in around life’s truly core issues.
Perspective calibrates the experiences of life. It somehow puts them in their proper place as measured by what they actually did to change us as the years give depth to our lives. When we extend perspective into its historical context, it gains even greater stature. Historical perspective calibrates the relative importance of both historical events and mankind’s historical personalities who defined their times and, in special cases, the lives of all those who followed in their wake. In this context, Jesus of Nazareth has no equal.
Shall we talk about moral power or character? How about matchless wisdom? Who would compare to Him? Supernatural power displayed at will in public places where none of the hundreds or thousands in attendance could deny or gainsay its reality? Buddha or Mohammed or any other historical leader can’t measure up to His absolute mastery of both the natural and spiritual world. What phrases of wisdom can transcend all human cultures with truths like, «Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,» or «Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,» or, «love your neighbor as yourself»?
Yet, unique as these things are, they are not what sets Jesus in a class by Himself. He was physically raised from the dead. That reality gives an ultimate power to all He said, did, and promised. Out from this unique platform echoes across time a cause for hope from the finality of death and the cries for the dispensing of justice and mercy from the tragedies of this short sojourn on earth and our quickly passing lives.
So why do millions celebrate His birth? Why is He «The Prince of Peace?» Quite simply for this reason: we can trust that what He said is absolute reality and that what He instructed us to do and be will produce exactly what He promised. From this perspective, peace wraps itself around us and makes its way into the very fibers of our hearts. Peace to you and yours this Christmas; it is indeed a peace that brings a bottom line to all it touches…….the bottom line.