Sunday, December 18, 2016

Advent: Peace

The whole idea behind this Advent series is a daily meditation on themes culminating in the celebration of Christmas in a few short days. Every day, take a photo around the day's theme, and share your thoughts. Today's theme is "peace." Pray tell, what does peace look like?

Does peace look like the ruins of Aleppo, where Russian and Syrian forces have been slaughtering civilians who until recent days were kept in chains for long and brutal months by ISIS? Well, that's a warzone, admittedly; maybe it's more like life here in the United States, where about 27 people are sacrificed every day to our firearms fetish.

Maybe it looks like Flint, Mich., where they still have poisoned water pipes; or like Washington, D.C, where the wealthy and powerful are about to get a solid lock on wealth and power for at least the next four years, and leave a mark that will linger for decades.

Cynically viewed, peace is an illusion in this world. It's a temporary pause in fighting because one group has enough power to intimidate all others, and some of those so intimidated change their positions in order to enjoy the prestige and security they're accustomed to.

Less cynically I would have to agree that peace is not an illusion but an aspiration that God has for us, one where the supernatural world bursts forth into the natural world and orders thing as they are intended. In those moments of when heaven arrives, and as its scent lingers afterward, we find impossible things happen. Soldiers leave the trenches, exchange gifts, and play soccer together in No Man's Land; the Christian greets the Muslim like an old friend, with a heartfelt "Salaam!" and the Palestinian invites the Israeli to tea.

These intrusions of heaven are small as a newborn child; and so we must be wary. The powerful always see such outbreaks as a threat, and want to kill the baby in the crib.

Copyright © 2016 by David Learn. Used with permission.

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