It’s the second Sunday of Advent! If you aren’t familiar with advent, look here for a little information I posted last week. My house is decorated for the Christmas season and my kids are excited. I will be excited too, when the terror of getting everything ready for Christmas is complete. Pretty sure that will be sometime during the afternoon of December 23rd.
But today is about the waiting and preparation of advent. Today many churches around the world light the advent candle symbolizing peace.
Many times you will hear people praying for peace or telling someone they hope that the person will “find peace.” I think most people would admit that the world needs more peace. That we as individuals need more peace in our lives. But I am not convinced we really understand what we are asking for or what we mean. Peace is more than just not having nations at war with one another. It means we find peace with our neighbors, peace with our enemies and our opposites and peace within ourselves. I think finding peace as a nation might be easier than finding peace with our own enemies and definitely easier than finding peace within.
Here’s the tough news. Peace just doesn’t happen magically. It must be practiced by each of us. It is up to us to lay down our weapons and befriend our enemies. Sounds crazy I know. You might say to yourself, “but I don’t even own a weapon! I’m just a gynecologist without a gun or knives or anything of the such.” Friends, we all have weapons. We have the weapons of mean words and harsh looks. Weapons of biases, fear of others, anger towards those who have done us harm. Sarcasm and judgment are great friends of mine and great tools to make enemies of others. I probably enjoy conflict too much. Everyone getting along is much too Disney Princess in my book. I mean, the struggle is real folks.
Truth be told, war will destroy us faster than it can even destroy our enemies. Our anger, our judgment, our deeply held resentment against another will keep us from having peace in our own heart and mind. Plus, the world will never find peace if we don’t create it in our homes, in our families, in our communities. I’m not claiming that I’m going to spend every Sunday afternoon having lunch with my enemy and my opposite, but I am going to claim that we should put less time and energy into being upset with what someone else is doing that we don’t agree with and more time and energy breathing deeply and choosing to be peaceful. To withhold our hurtful words and frowning faces and extend a hand to help someone we don’t necessarily get along with. To give someone the benefit of the doubt. To sit across the table with friends or family and find a moment of peace.