Is there anything more ludicrous than the titles we assign to the Advent candles? Hope? Love? Joy? And now peace? It seems that each week of this 2014 Advent revealed more injustice, cruelty, poverty and disaster. Some refuse to listen to media reports, some rant in helplessness, others lie sleepless as they contemplate the horrors.
But for followers of Christ, we turn full face, choosing to believe and act upon the message announced in Bethlehem: “Do NOT be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people…Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth, PEACE to those on whom his favor rests.”
White-robed children with tinsel halos bless us as we listen to them vigorously sing the angelic announcement. Wiggling with excitement, these 21st century replicas of that Bethlehem choir respond to the “louder” of their enthusiastic director. They believe in real angels, they believe that peace is possible. But we wiser, more knowledgeable, more rational adults ask, “All the people, Lord? Peace? How will this news get to, be believed by the mourning parents in Pakistan? By refugees in Lebanon? By trafficked girls in Toledo? By the homeless in Colorado Springs? The task too big, our abilities too scarce, our faith too stripped.”
Or could it be that the promise made to the wavering disciples remains valid? “Go..I will be with you…you will receive power…I will come again…”
And so, against all odds, against the realities of our world, but with Holy Spirit-produced hope, joy, love and peace, we join the angelic choirs—the ones with tinsel and those in the Bethlehem night sky— and not only announce, but live out the truth that “The God who was, and is, and is to come promises and produces peace.”