It is a rare quiet moment on a Sunday morning. Thanksgiving is in just a few short days, people are already talking Christmas and it is cold outside but for a moment it is still and quiet. As I consider the things I am thankful for this year, I can’t help but think of those who live in Jerusalem, or Paris, or Beirut, or Mali or any of the other myriad places where violence has struck and be thankful that all whom I love are safe and living. My heart breaks for this world and for those caught in the crossfire of hatred and power. Sometimes it is overwhelming and I wonder what I can possibly do to make a difference. In fact, I have heard people say: well, there is nothing I can do so… The reality is there is something we can all do but unless we all invest in peace, the Prince of Peace whom we call for during Advent, has no hope of making inroads into the violence that seems to be everywhere.
As I was preparing and planning for Advent, I did a little crowd sourcing on Facebook. I asked people what their hearts long for, what is it their souls are waiting for. I got lots of wonderful answers that can be put into two categories: connection and peace. The most human of desires is to connect with other humans, to know that we matter. The followers of Jesus are experts at this—at least we should be. Nothing should be easier for us than to connect with people and let them know they matter. Yet time and time again we fail at this and when we fail, the world fails and there is no peace. Our God is all about connection and peace—how is it we are not?
This Advent and Christmas season we will be looking at these two things: connection and peace: how we find them in God, in ourselves and for others. We will ponder the question “What can I do to make a difference”, we will continually come to the table of mercy to be fed and go out to the tables of our home and community to feed others. The truth is, the thing we can do that is the easiest way toward peace is to be kind to one another. In this crazy season where the world has a jingle for everything and is encouraging us to buy more and more to make us more worthy, the Prince of Peace offers to us a message of stillness and kindness and peace. Give it a try: kindness for the four weeks of Advent and see what happens.