Are Peace and Advent Incompatible?

Are Peace and Advent Incompatible? December 3, 2012

As I was praying with my Advent wreath this morning, it occurred to me first of all how odd it is to pray with an Advent resource I wrote myself. This year, as part of my devotions for the season, I’ll be using my own little O Radiant Dawn. Since it’s been well over a year since I wrote this small booklet, in a way it feels new to me as well. I thought it might be fun to share a few thoughts during the season in relation to the book’s daily scripture passages and reflection questions. And today’s passage seems to be a great place to start:

They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
One nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again. 

Isaiah 2:4-5

One of the reflection questions I posed for today in the booklet was this:

What can you do this Advent to bring Christ’s peace to your household, neighborhood, nation or world?

My immediate reaction as I prayed this morning was that already, this Advent feels anything but peaceful. So while I’d like to answer my own deftly-posed question with a solution for world peace, truthfully I’m struggling just to find it in my own home. Perhaps you feel the same way — we crave an inward focus, time to meditate and ponder, and the world around us is going haywire. Just this week, setting my work aside, I will spend a total of fifteen hours watching my son perform in various “holiday” concerts. Add that on top of a busy work schedule for both Greg and me, family commitments, and parties for the season and I’m wondering how to find that “peace” I seek.

“Baby steps, Lisa!” she says to herself. “Here are a few places to start.”:

Turn off media. Crave silence.
Say “no” occasionally to invitations.
Put away expectations that every gift must be bought early (or even at all…).
Cling to prayer rituals and seek out extra Adoration time.
Accept that your version of “peace” is unique to your home, your lifestyle and your Advent.
Count your blessings – they number as the stars.

Part of finding peace is coming to an acceptance of my life, just as it is today. It’s avoiding my mental comparison’s to Mr. & Mrs. Smith and their perfect family, or to my professional peers who seem to “get it” so much more than I do. Part of finding peace is remembering to ask for it. And part of finding peace is noticing it — and being copiously grateful for it — when it presents itself to me. It’s Day 2, so I’ll cut myself a bit of slack for having such lofty expectations. And guess what… that leads to a tiny little kernel of peace.

And now it’s your turn:

What can you do this Advent to bring Christ’s peace to your household, neighborhood, nation or world?

"Only good things are to come!! Saying yes is the best. See you around, friend."

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