Monday, December 24, 2018

Peace Hoped for and Made: #AdventWord Day 23

It may not have been our smartest decision, but our family of six ventured to Philly’s Christmas Village last night. Yes, two days before Christmas we hit up City Hall and Macy’s to see the touted light shows. Let’s just say all was beautifully bright but definitely not calm. It was a mad house. Still, there were two sacred spaces that slowed the haste as people wrote their hopes and aspirations, wishes and a few prayers. One caught my attention: a call for peace in English, Italian, Spanish, and Russian. While possible to dismiss as cliche for the season, it is far better to lift up as a genuine and universal longing for what the Scriptures call shalom. Who needs more cynicism anyway?

Shalom is the crux of the biblical story and is far more than the absence of war and violence, conflict, and aggression. Shalom is the active realization of God’s dreams for the world, visions of wholeness and fairness, kindness and equity, reconciliation and when all have enough and the earth is in perfect rhythm. Shalom is when lions lay down with lambs and swords are forged into gardening tools. Shalom was embodied in the person and work of Jesus, who challenged all that stood in the way of universal welfare as he extended love and welcome to the most unlikely of neighbors. This Jesus then invited us to do and be about the same. After all, peace is a collective movement, actively made and pursued versus passively wished for as though someone else’s responsibility. So this Christmas, whenever you see prayers for peace, consider it a corporate and personal charge, command, and bold invitation to play your part. May peace be something you both hope for and intentionally make in even the most chaotic places and circumstances. Those who do so, Jesus said, are blessed and called the very children of God.