During the Advent season, I am reminded to stop, reflect, and resist the temptation to rush towards Christmas day like it was the finish line in a race. Part of me understands this time is to contemplate what waiting is, yet I want to plan, prepare and act out of my effort to make everything perfect for everyone.
Don’t get me wrong; planning is a good thing! However, Advent calls for a change in focus- to reflect what the coming of Christ continues to mean throughout human history. The truth is that the work of healing relationships, of bringing peace, is an act that goes way beyond my activity. It requires faith along with the action. As much as I want everything to go well and see people happy, there is a limit to what I can do. God’s divine action was to reconcile us through Christ’s humanity in ways far exceeding my sense of righteousness and justice. Pursuing peace with those around me relies on my prayer, humility, and heart attitude.
A reminder of that is in the lighting of the advent wreath on the Sundays leading up to Christmas. The four candles represent hope, peace, joy and love. The work of reconciliation requires all those qualities. Being a channel of Christ’s peace, must come from peace within. It is harder to love without having a deep sense of God’s love and joy that strengthens and gives voice to hope for possibilities where there appear to be none. Waiting with intent means believing the work of reconciliation has already started, and we accept the invitation. My faith, not just my actions, allows God’s peace in whatever context I might find myself in.
Reverend Doctor Sharon Prentis is the Dean of Ministry at St Mellitus College and has worked in church mission, community development and education for over 20 years. A primary interest concerns how the Church can serve local communities and contribute to social justice by being intercultural witnesses of Christ’s love.
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