Prepare for the Way of Peace
By Lu Mountenay of Independence, MO, USA
“…to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins. By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” —Luke 1:77¬–79 NRSV
“It’s that time of year, when the world falls in love…” so the song goes. It’s that time of year when we even name the weeks: Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. We are full of expectation for the coming Christ child. We sing, celebrate, and share gifts. This would be a poor time of year, as the scripture passage says, to have to “sit in darkness and in the shadow of death…” Some must. They have no choice.
Do we turn away from those whose cries we don’t want to hear? Do we turn from those who shiver in the cold? Do we deny that these cold, crying people are not so far away—perhaps under the freeway we just drove over? Are we complicit in our silence, raising our eyebrows when we could raise our voices and risk ourselves to protest injustices? Do we sprinkle glitter on empty boxes and call them beautiful gifts? Some of us have a choice.
Grab the reindeer by the horns and say, “Let’s look closer. Let’s find the cause of this poverty, this loneliness, this homelessness.” Ask how we can help and not assume we already know what’s best—listen deeply. Let’s brush away the judgment and reveal the hidden injustice. Let us open the door and let light replace shadow. Choose peace.
Prayer for Peace
Compassionate God, guide our feet into the way of peace—not into the way of convenience. Help us to not wander into the shallow stream of culture. Lead us toward the person whose cold hand grasps at ours and asks to share our warmth and light.
Spiritual Practice: Advent—Peace
Pause amid this busy season and become mindful of the source of your life-giving breath. Reflect on where that breath blows you. Pray it leads you to Pursue Peace on Earth. In this reflection, close your eyes, close out the noise of the holiday crowds, and prepare yourself for the coming of the Messiah. If your mind wanders to the commercial clamor, allow God to pull you back to focus on Christ, the center of Christmas. Expose your soul to God’s signature and the writing of Christ’s peace covenant on your heart.
Today, God, I will brush away the shiny, distracting glitter…to find the peace of Christmas.