Peace On Earth

Peace on Earth

     “Peace on earth, goodwill to men.” We hear that verse from Luke 2 a lot this time of year. We even sing about it. One favorite Christmas Hymn says, “Let There Be Peace on Earth, and Let It Begin With Me.” But how often does peace actually begin with me?

      Golfer Brandon Matthews is one of the thousands of golfers playing on the “minor league” tours, hoping he can make his way onto the PGA Tour. At a tournament Argentina a few weeks ago, he was in a playoff in which a win would’ve earned him a spot in the (British) Open Championship next year. Doing well in the Open would’ve been a big step toward achieving his dream. I say “would’ve,” because as he swung his putter on the third playoff hole, someone in the crowd yelped loudly, and it affected his swing. The putt missed, and he lost. As you can imagine, he was frustrated over the breach of golf etiquette at such a crucial moment. He had lost the tournament and his chance to play in a PGA major.

      While changing in the locker room afterward, a tournament official informed him that the man who had made the noise had Down’s Syndrome, and had gotten excited and struggled to control his emotions in the moment. Matthews immediately asked to be taken to meet him. He signed a glove for him and made sure the man didn’t think he was angry at him. He said later, “I felt so terrible that I was even upset. I just wanted to make sure that he didn’t feel bad. I didn’t want anyone to be mad at him. I wanted to make sure that he wasn’t mad at himself. I wanted to make sure that he knew that I wasn’t mad. That’s all I wanted to do. Some things are bigger than golf.”

      How often do we let ourselves get worked up over much less than that? A couple who came to the restaurant after you’ve been waiting 20 minutes gets seated before you. Someone takes the last of a sale item that you obviously had your sights on first. The person in front of you in the checkout line pays with a check and writes it all down in her register—SLOWLY—before freeing up the bagging area for you (hypothetically speaking).

      As much as CR has helped me with my anger and control issues, there are still little things that I let frustrate me, and I don’t always handle things the way that I would like. But how else is peace going to spread if it doesn’t start with me… and you? Peace isn’t just some nebulous cloud God will send down to change people’s behavior. It’s a movement that has to happen with individuals—and that starts with me. And it includes you.

      I don’t know if Brandon Matthews will ever earn a PGA Tour card, but he has something else—something far more important that this world needs a lot more of—a care and concern for others that sows the seeds of peace on earth, goodwill to men.