Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. I expect there are still leftovers in the fridge from your Thanksgiving meal. And, I pray, you have some meaningful and special memories of time spent either in person with family or friends, or via phone, texts, or social media. This is a wonderful time of year when we get to transition from a swelling of thankfulness to the special meaning of Christmas.
This is the first Sunday of Advent and as we progress through the weeks leading to Christmas, we often assign Peace, Hope, Joy or Love to one of the four candles of the Advent Wreath. This week we assign Peace to candle #1.
If you are feeling euphoric from your season of thankfulness, it might feel natural to move into the sense of peace emitted from the flicker of the Advent candle. God gave us His son, Jesus, to further His love and peace into the world. However, there is not peace in the world today. There are warring nations, heartbreaking acts of violence, and politically-divided people. As we face unrest, frustration and brokenness, this is a perfect time to gaze into the flame of the Advent candle and remember the immense love and grace of God as we reflect on the birth of His son, Jesus.
One of my favorite scriptures foretelling of a peoples’ move toward peace is in Isaiah 2:1-5 where “[people] will beat their swords into iron plows, and their spears into pruning tools. Nation will not take up sword against nation; they will no longer learn how to make war.” In Isaiah, the people of Judah were being invited to take the first steps toward creating Zion and the reign of God: “Let us walk in the light of the Lord” (v. 5). We must also walk in that light and we keep alive the hope of peace to come. But how can we do that?
Remember in your preparation for Christmas to mindfully move through each step, allowing God and God’s call for peace, to be part of it. What gestures or generous acts, big or small, can melt the weapons and words of war into a spirit of love, compassion and oneness?
Let’s begin our Advent season with peace. May God’s spirit fill you and give you inspiration and resolve to be an ambassador for peace and justice as you walk your journey in this world. Amen.
(author: Bonnie Barber)
Various authors throughout the Chesapeake Bay Mission Center and beyond provide these thought-provoking weekly devotions.