December 10, 2008 Undoubtedly, most of you have heard the phrase Pass the Peace. Many would consider the words trite and over-used. I'm here to draw a picture of how I saw and heard the concept, if not the exact words, being lived out this past week.
My nephew Steve and his sister Melissa both live in bodies which greatly inhibit their physical involvement in life. They have cerebral palsy and spend most of their time with activities involving sitting. One of the things which helps break up their days (Steve's especially) is going out to eat and socialize with friends and family. Usually, it's something casual like lunch at Tim Horton's/ Wendy's. (Tonight, actually, is going to be knocked up a notch—we're going to Whitey's to celebrate his birthday—that being the only thing he said he wanted.)
Anyway—back to the story. We were sitting at Tim Horton's/Wendy's Saturday noon. I forget who all was there—probably a dozen or so of us. A table over a couple also was enjoying lunch out. When they stood to leave, I noticed the man was wearing a jacket decorated with a purple heart. As he moved—not toward the door but toward our little knot of friends, I saw that he had a very noticeable limp. Tapping my friend Joyce on the shoulder, he nodded toward Steve and said softly, "What's that young man's name?"
Then he did something so simple, so profound. He looked into Steve's eyes and said, "May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be on you, Steve."
Reaching his other hand over and laying it on Melissa's shoulder, he added, "And on you too, miss."
My eyes misted over, and I thought: "What a profound way to make a difference in someone's day. Why, even I—the original tongue-tied whenever I try to say something like that person, could manage to say that. Oh—I can say it on paper, but get me eyeball to eyeball with someone, and I usually can't think what to say. But I plan to just do it this Christmas season.
May peace pervade and permeate your holiday season—that peace whispered to us by the Prince of Peace. Psst...Pass it on.