Peace on Earth
Three millennia had passed since the first Christmas. The old pagan gods of war were long forgotten. Only the rocks and a few bristle-cone pines could reflect back on that horrific history entire, from the lonely birth of an unknown babe, to the great Pax Humana.
His Word lay hidden for the first 500 years. His creed of love and tolerance were kept alive by a chosen few believers who nurtured His flame, transcribing and preserving the message he taught of acceptance, charity and benevolence, his perfect plan for humanity.
Those concepts were alien to the vast majority of the warring tribes of Earth, whose religion was barbarism, ignorance, injustice and violence in a brutal world where might makes right.
Throughout the second millennium, Man learned to read, and His Words became widely known, but twisted and distorted through the lens of tyranny to justify more war and killing in His Name.
With learning came science, and ever-increasing levels of sophistication in the art of destruction. Man refined his methods of mayhem, perfecting efficient economy of effort, through ingenuity and guile, until he had achieved a truly magnificent self-sustaining engine of death.
Permanent war tuned the world’s economy, controlled population, maintained full employment, and opiated the workers by fomenting nationalistic fervor for the next scheduled mobilization. There was order and wealth for some, a hopeless morass of desolation and death for the rest.
A people ravaged and scarred by elitism, envy, jealousy, rivalry, fear, plague and pestilence for 3000 years.
At last, there was an enormous shuddering of the shattered populace, a fever pitch of terror and turmoil reached critical mass as the demented civilization swayed, tottered and disintegrated, and in madness’ remission a tide of sanity rolled in, an awakening as if a supernova had engulfed the globe.
The bitter wheel of brutality broke and spun off its axis; crashing and burning like the pyre of Mars. The cycle was undone.
Shocked out of their murderous stupor, mankind faced the revelation of what madness had begot, and they mourned for the untold riches, art and beauty lost, treasure wasted on weapons, of damage done, of generations decimated by purges, destroying the promise of entire races, the Earth deforested and despoiled beyond recognition.
In the midst of this dark despair, as one they turned, and with wonder beheld the only thing that could comfort their suffering and resurrect their broken spirit, the final redemption held in the understanding of that which had always been beyond their ken, His Sacred Words;
“Love Thy Neighbor As Thine Self”
At that desperate, backward glance to the Babe of Bethlehem, Mankind experienced the cleansing of the soul that led to a sanctity of the body. They began to live the precepts of peace as He always meant them to be, the final reconciliation. Man renounced war and violence, forever.
Events multiplied; in a generation, there was no hunger, no ignorance, poverty nor want. All theft and crime, all resentments and prejudice among the world’s peoples were forgotten. Even petty grievances and quarrels ceased to be.
Most astounding of all, every weapon, from switch-blades to the most sophisticated space-based fusion missile was destroyed, ‘beaten into plough-shares’ as the Good Book prescribed, the materials of war used instead to heal and feed, to nurture, educate, entertain, to love and comfort, instead of harm.
A golden age dawned, a new birth of knowledge, erudition and elegance, philosophical epiphanies and theological serenity and the unification of faith with science. Disease was conquered, aging and injury were no longer feared. It seemed within Mankind’s reach to defeat even death itself.
In another generation, all belligerent impulse was wiped from the very code of the human genome.
No one remained who knew how to manufacture or create any kind of weapon, whatsoever. No one remembered their devise, nor even their effect.
From every visage shone a clear and loving light toward their brother, without a hint a malice. The very idea of war was a hazy, half-remembered dream, asleep in some vestigial, ape-like gland or forgotten hind-brain from that bellicose era.
Above the Earth, in that perfect peaceful crystalline dusk, a star bloomed again, as it had 3000 years before, and ships sailed in on a sere wind from space.
He had returned, the New Conquistador. His Word of peace had finally disarmed that brutal breed of valiant warriors. His plan, three thousand years in the making, was at last coming to fruition, leaving the defenseless planet ripe for the plucking.
The new gods of war swept like a scythe, scouring the cities clean. Those left living were fattened for the feast.
The aperitif entailed over 20,000,000 tender infants grilled and served “en croute”; Christmas Day, 3008. And there was a peaceful serenity across the land on the birthday of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.