Sunday, December 25
- Psalms. 2, 85, 110.1-5, 132
- Micah 4.1-5, 5.2-4
- 1 John 4.7-16
- John 3.31-36
The news media thrives on conflict. The conflict between nations, the conflict among families, the conflict of interests, the conflict over values, or even the conflict imagined all provide grist for the mill that gives us our daily bread of conflict. We can become addicted to the perversion of nations, families, and systems feasting on each other. If we are not careful, and often before we even know it, we create our own conflicts to feed our addiction. We live in a conflicted world.
Advent reminds us each year that God “will speak peace to his people” (Ps. 85.8). The Advent message proclaims God brings peace to a conflicted world. God works in ways that bring steadfast love and faithfulness together so “righteousness and peace will kiss each other” (Ps. 85.10). This season reminds us that the coming of the Prince of Peace (Is. 9.6) ushers in the very presence of peace to bring God into our conflict-laden lives each Advent season.
How can we be peace creators? How can we help righteousness and peace kiss each other? How can we be used by God to bring peace into the Advent season?
1 John 4 encourages us to love one another because “love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God” (v. 7). We learn from this letter at the end of the New Testament that a critical part of God’s peace plan for this conflicted world is our embrace of the one who came as a sacrifice for all our conflicted lives. God loved us first and because God loved us so much, “we also ought to love one another” (v. 11).
We become the very embodiment of God’s love when we love as God loved us in Jesus Christ. We help bring Advent into reality and we push the conflict back a bit whenever we love each other. May you sit at the table of love this Christmas Day and may you share in the love of Jesus Christ and for this day, among all days, push the bread of conflict out of your lives and share in the love of God with each other.
Dean, School of Religion
You can access an online version of the 2011 Advent Guide (presented annually be Belmont’s School of Religion) at:http://issuu.com/office.communications/docs/2011_advent_guide#download