Is peace the absence of conflict? Or is it something more? When Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matt. 5:9) it was in the context of his praising those who are often maligned by the world. Being people who pursue true peace—justice for all and a world where everyone flourishes—means that we will get into trouble with those who benefit from the status quo. We see this in Jesus’ life and in the lives of the early Christians.
Paul urges the small groups of believers huddled together in houses to let the peace of Christ dwell in their hearts—to sing and to remember the good works of God, to praise, to teach, and to admonish one another. In this way, they practice true peace: life as Jesus lived his life—in community with other people, thanking God for the blessings of the days, and being strengthened to confront the works of evil in the world.
How can we start to cultivate a desire for Christlike love in our hearts? And how can we start to live into the duty of being peacemakers in a world full of injustice? Perhaps the answer lies partly in Paul’s letter. Perhaps we need one another to be able to fulfill this work. We need to gather together, to read and sing and laugh and cry. We need to eat food and tell stories. We need to gather together in any way we can in order to truly live out the life and message of Jesus. We need one another in order to start to see the kingdom of God be born into our world.
As Christmas Day approaches, let us think about how we can be a part of bringing true peace in our communities. We look from the birth of Jesus ahead to his death, and we know that we were never promised this road would be easy. But together, the duty of being peacemakers becomes a community undertaking, and we know we shall never be alone on this journey.
God, create in me a desire to see justice in my own home, neighborhood, city, and country. Thank you for the witness of Christians throughout the centuries who have shown us the way of peace. Help us to walk boldly in that same direction. Amen.
The boy Samuel worshiped and served God from a young age. He grows in stature and favor, the same description that will later be applied to the young Jesus in this week’s reading from Luke. The psalmist praises God for raising up a “horn” for the people. This “horn” is referred to elsewhere in the Psalms as being the True King from the line of David, identified later by Luke (1:69) as Jesus. Paul encourages the Colossians to let love rule in their community and to praise God with songs and hymns (such as the Psalms). The additional readings for this special week focus our minds on the Advent of the Lord, the amazing truth that “the Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14), as the prophets had prophesied long ago.
Read Isaiah 9:2-7. Where in your world do you see darkness? What lies within your power to dispel it?
Read Psalm 148. How do you experience God’s creations worshiping and praising God? How do you join in that worship?
Read Colossians 3:12-17. How are you clothing yourself with love during this season?
Read Luke 2:1-20. In what ways do you hold and ponder the story of Christ’s birth in your heart?
Respond by posting a prayer.