Advent Devotion: First Step Toward Peace on Earth

Post a Comment » Written on December 16th, 2003     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (December 16, 2003)  – Covenant Communications has posted several Advent devotionals from church newsletters and emails recently. This one  is from pastor Mark Pattie of Covenant Congregational Church in North  Easton, Massachusetts.

One of the messages frequently heard as we approach Christmas is that  the season has become so commercialized that we have lost sight of what  it is really about.

While the complaints are undoubtedly true, they get tiresome. Somehow,  they sound like whining, which is something that rarely accomplishes  anything. It is almost always the practice of those who prefer to avoid  action rather than take responsibility for what they can do.

The challenge for those of us who want to follow Christ in the  materialistic world is not, first of all, how to convince others to pay  attention to what really matters. The real challenge is for us to  somehow figure out how to do so ourselves. It is tragic that much of the  world is not focused on worshiping Christ at Christmas. It is worse than  tragic that so many of us who call ourselves his followers are not  focused on him either.

It is always a tremendous challenge to be faithful to Christ and his  values. Ironically, it is sometimes even more difficult at this time of  the year. How can we possibly celebrate Christmas in a way that puts  Christ and his concerns first when the expectations of those around us  demand that we do likewise? How can we take time to look to Jesus and  listen for his call upon our lives when our schedules barely leave time  for us to sleep?

The answers (to those questions) are not simple. It is clear, however,  that they have little to do with what others ought to be doing. The  number one thing that our world needs is not for everyone else to look  to Christ and listen to his call, although we pray that will happen.  What our world needs, and we need ourselves, is for us to do so.

It might be that the first purchase most of us ought to make this  Christmas season is a mirror. If our world is to be transformed, our own  lives are a great place to start. The first step toward peace on earth  comes not in exerting our power and influence on others, but in opening  ourselves to the power and influence of Christ’s spirit. As we do, we  can trust that, moment by moment, action by action, word by word, that  the same spirit will accomplish his good purpose through us in the lives  of others.

Whatever else we may focus our time and energy on this Christmas, may  this be the gift we seek: Christ born anew in us and through us in the  world. Let us seek Christ, the gift of whom and angels sang, the One who  brings peace on earth and goodwill to all.

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