“I look forward to these days of encounter and dialogue.” Pope Francis
The theme for Advent this year is The Way of Peace. This year we are using the traditional weekly Advent themes to emphasize the Way of Peace.
- The Way of Peace through Sharing Hope
- The Way of Peace through Sharing Love
- The Way of Peace through Sharing Joy
- The Way of Peace through Sharing Peace
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other.” Mother Teresa
In our world today, peace seems to be in short supply. Our world is noisy, demanding, overloaded with information and technology, filled with ongoing world discourse and multiple situations in own country that fly in the face of all that is peaceful. What does it matter if we seek a way of peace for ourselves this Advent? How will it make a difference in the world?
I boldly say it makes a vast difference. Just as loose change adds up to dollars, small bits of peace dent the noise around us. Peace begets peace. Peace can be something as simple as a smile. When you smile at someone, they will return the smile. When you say hello, they will respond in kind. Physiologically, these acts send good nutrients to our brains. A kind act of peace will encourage the other person to do the same. Some of my most tender and remembered moments have been when someone has visited an unexpected kindness on me or when I have shown a small kindness to someone else. When we realize we belong to each other, no matter our differences, we are headed the way of peace.
Our own peace reflected outward is how we create peace in the world. Seeking peace in ourselves and in our worlds – that is peace. Choosing to respond to our world in a way of peace and not anger or indifference, is peace. Meaningfully finding ways to accept our own life, wrapped in a context of peace, is peace.
Peace doesn’t mean to not have chaos or angst. All of us have parts of our lives that are not how we wish them to be. Peace describes how we respond to the chaos and the angst. Peace is the God in me seeing the God in you and letting that vision rule my heart and my responses, knowing peace is the path.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
During the Last Supper, Jesus prepared his disciples for a world after he has left them. Thomas asks how they will know the way to him if they don’t know where he is going? Jesus answers, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” He goes on to say if they love him, they will keep his commands. He promises that God will give them help through the Holy Spirit, who “will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” He tells them, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” And finally he tells them, “Peace I leave with you and my peace I give you.”
This Advent, we will reflect on the way of peace. As we ready ourselves and our hearts for the baby Jesus, we will consider Jesus’ life as a guide to the way of peace. We will look for ways to walk in peace in our daily lives, in our prayers, in our own keeping of Jesus’ words. We will look for the way of peace through hope we can offer others. We will explore the way of peace by the way that we love, by remembering we belong to each other. We will exult our way of peace through the joy we find in His world and the joy we scatter for others. Finally, we will share the way of peace by showing the peace that flows within us and recognizing that peace in others, knowing peace is the path. When we come to the night when the star shone bright, we will stand in the sanctuary, singing Silent Night, Holy Night while the peace of God wraps around us, sending us on our way knowing the true gift that is Christmas.
Peace Be With You Song Link
Life so full I give to you
As the Father sends me so I send you
Spread my light throughout all life
Peace be with you
Dear God, Ready us, as we journey again through the Advent season, preparing our hearts to seek Jesus through his peace. Still us, so that we can absorb your peace and not stay the same. Let our hearts rest in your peace so we can whisper it into our days. Help us keep it close in our everyday, reminding us, challenging us to act in peace. Hear our thanks in our songs and our prayers for bringing us a tiny babe that granted us your unworldly peace. In Glory, Amen.