Christmas provides perspective on our priorities as a people. They seem to focus rather obviously on material pleasure, physical comfort, and entertainment. That and the military.
We sing of peace on earth a lot now, while we send the troops overseas. That leads to a slight elevation of the volume in the calls for pacifism.
Our Lord calls us to peace, to turn the other cheek, there can be no doubt whatsoever about that. We don’t like to do it in our private lives, so its pleasant to turn it into an abstraction and angrily picket our government for not doing it internationally.
Yet He calls us to peace.
Pacifism is a beautiful idea.
However, it is often rooted in a somewhat unique fear, which is that if you allow for any war to be just then every war will be justified.
That is probably true. And it points out the great dilemma we face as a race.
Pacifism wants to eliminate the possibility of a monstrous and horrendous mistake by taking the ability to decide away from the ruler.
For this reason alone pacificism is utterly untenable. What will we do, have a consitutional amendment forbidding war and violence? Well, we already have laws to limit them as much as possible on the home front and they aren’t helping much.
Pacifism is an example of what I mean by my constant complaints about sentimentalism. It’s an abstraction. It feels good to fight for it. It’s a public virtue, so it lets me feel virtuous without worrying about my private virtues. How could anybody be opposed to peace?
But like all sentimental ideals, it wants to fantasize a world where people in leadership don’t have to make brutally difficult decisions but only need to manage things according to rules and formulas.
In my ideal self, if someone struck me (physically or emotionally), I would turn the other cheek, but if someone struck my wife, children, home, land, our country then I would be duty bound to protect them.
Now too many people have too much power and too few people have enough virtue to manage it. The Enlightenment has broken down the moral code while spreading power.
May the Prince of Peace come soon. When we bow to Him then judgment will rain down from the heavens and wisdom will guide the pure of heart into a world of sensible peace, where wise men turn their own cheeks, but nobody dares strike their wives or challenge their duties.
Even so, come Lord Jesus, for the light is darkness and we are drunk on folly.