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.
Thursday Day 5:
“And so we wait. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. But we wait not in passive resignation or despair. Expectant and hopeful waiting requires that we pray. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” And it requires us to be agents of that kingdom. In Advent we neither ignore the brokenness in us and around us, nor do we ignore the transformative power of Christ and the flowering and the beauty of a new way of doing business. We wait in hope, knowing that the Jesus Kingdom will one day bring about a restoration to the way the world was meant to be. We love deeply. We advocate justice. We feed the hungry and clothe the naked. We love deeply and give sacrificially. And, as the Psalmist admonishes us to do, we seek peace, and pursue it (Psalm 34:14). We do all of these things in the power of the First Advent and in the hope of the Second. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”
Todd Deatherage is co-founder of the Telos Group, a Washington D.C. -based non-profit organization dedicated to educating American leaders about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the pressing importance of working for its peaceful resolution.
Wednesday Day 4:
“ “Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all the people; for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior . . .”
You know what will make this really good news for you this morning? It will be good news of great joy if you feel like you need a Savior. If you are content without him, if you don’t feel like you need him, then he is not your Savior.
Or if you feel like you need him, but only as a Savior from a bad relationship, or from a financial problem, or from sickness, but not from sin, then he is not your Savior.
The angel said to Joseph in Matthew 1:21, “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” We take him as Savior from sins or we do not take him at all.
But we must be even more careful in the way we say it. For there are many who want Jesus as Savior from the penalty of their sins but not as a Savior from their sins. They want to be saved from the consequences of sin, but not from the corruption of sin. But if you don’t want Jesus to save you from the pleasures of sin, and give you a new and deeper set of pleasures, then you don’t have Jesus as your Savior.
Jesus came into the world to destroy the works of the devil John says (1 John 3:8), namely, sins. If you try to take him only as sin-forgiver and not as sin-destroyer, you don’t take him at all.” Passage from John Piper, Sermon: Three Meditations on the Messiah, December 11, 1988. www. Desiringgod.org
Tuesday Day 3:
For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name.
“One of the most important elements of Jesus’ message, at least in this Jew’s opinion, is the idea that we are our brother’s keeper. We have a responsibility to our fellow human beings. Helping the poor isn’t optional; it’s an obligation. This very Jewish concept, what we call Tzedakah, is now one that is universal to the three great monotheistic religions. Back then, though, it was a very Jewish concept. For example, the Romans considered the idea of the Sabbath laziness because it meant taking off one day per week. Now, this value of Tzedakah, of charity, is universal.” Mets102