I couldn’t think of a more fitting public example of a person who lived the actions of Advent on a daily basis, than the now departed Nelson Mandela. Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men, was not a holiday slogan for him, it was his way of life, all year long. Mandela was a man who knew that peace, both internal and external was not an easy way to live and that it required a lot of work and resiliency.We don’t need to wait for the second coming, the Advent, in order to have peace. God has already given us everything we need to have peace.
“Peace as a term is trendy at Christmas. But often it remains just that – a cute phrase to put on our holiday cards – “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men.” But how often do we actively work at bringing that peace on earth? Are we peacemakers in our own families? Do we work to heal family strife or do we let our prejudices bring discord? Do we get upset at friends and neighbors who don’t celebrate the holidays for the “right reasons” or do we work to build community with everyone? Do we refer to people in other countries with contempt and ridicule or do we speak of them as our brothers and sisters?
Peace on earth starts with us, with our attitudes towards others. Our words convey the attitude of our hearts and create either a culture of peace or a culture of hate within our homes. Sometimes it is hard to tell which attitude is being promoted as our words speak of peace but our actions promote discord. I like the questions Willie Nelson asks in his song “What Ever Happened to Peace on Earth?” –‘So I guess it’s just/Do unto others before they do it to you/Let’s just kill em’ all and let God sort em’ out/Is this what God wants us to do?’ By Julie C. Lawson.