Week 3 of Advent | Mimi Barnard

Thursday, December 20

Psalms 33, 50
Isaiah 9.18-10.4
Matthew 3.1-12
2 Peter 2.10b-16

On this Thursday, December 20, in the third week of Advent, we are
reminded of the peace that comes during this holy season as we
consider all that Christ’s coming into the world means to us and all of
Creation—the hope, the joy, the peace, and, ultimately, the love that
are the gifts of Immanuel, of Christ who is with and among us.

In this age of constant connectedness, it can be easy to be caught
in an unending cycle of stimuli, where we have instant access to
information, especially of bad news, from around the globe—we
hear of wars and rumors of wars, of senseless violence and injustice
(Is. 10.2-3). Syria, Iran, Libya, Pakistan, and, lest we overlook our own
domestic, senseless violence, Aurora, Colorado—what are we to
do with this information? How are we to respond? One reasonable
response would be to get angry, to think of retaliation, of military
buildups and the like (Ps. 33.16-17). Another response would be to
love and pray for our enemies. How do we balance our human reaction
of rage with the divine command to love?

I imagine that the howling crowds in Libya were not all that different
from the howling crowds at Golgotha. Even with the foreknowledge
of his destiny, Christ chose to put on flesh and be born in a manger.
He came so that we could move beyond the human reaction of
vengeance and retaliation to a higher place, one where love and
forgiveness intermingle so that peace can reign.

We wait in hope for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
For we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love rest upon us,
O Lord,
Even as we put our hope in you.
(Ps. 33.20-22)

Mimi Barnard
Assistant Provost, Interdisciplinary Studies and Global Education

To download a digital copy of the 2012 Advent Guide, put out by Belmont’s School of Religion, click here.

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