This weekend the calendar turned from Thanksgiving to the season of Advent, or pre-Christmas. (Even if you aren’t inclined toward the religious, bear with me.)
Sunday morning to close Thanksgiving Family Camp we celebrated the season change with The Rev. Chris Eades, who chose readings that beautifully balanced the tension and opportunity of this transition that adds preparation to a spirit of gratitude. In the Jeremiah passage we read (33:14-16), the prophet speaks of peace, honesty, and justice.
I’ve been feeling heavy, lately, as I’m sure you are as well, with the news of terrorism, the fear of and for refugees, and the general chasm and distrust that exists between people of all types: republicans and democrats, the haves and the have-nots, and those of different races, sexual identities, and cultures.
All of this has to stop.
Forget not being Christian, it is not human to treat one another so coarsely and hatefully, without peace, honesty, or justice of any kind.
Fr. Chris’ second reading choice was the angels visitation to Mary from the gospel of Luke (1:30-33). Reading this, it struck me that Jesus was, from the very beginning, about shaking things up, about transformation. Jesus came into this world unconventionally, and he left the same way. His life was unconventional. He sat with and loved the refugees, the sinners, the people who were different from him and the accepted culture of his time.
If we are to be like Jesus – if we are to be kind hearted, transformational people – we have to shake things up. We have to work toward peace, honesty, and justice.
Whether you are motivated by scripture or by the news of refugee children without a home, by Allah or by the gift, interest, or willingness to look another in the eye as a friend, or by some other goodness instilled in you, help make it stop.
It’s time to shake things up. It’s time to prepare for a better world.
Stop putting up with hate in your children’s schools. Stop walking by those in need on the streets where you walk and offer a smile or a cup of coffee instead. Stop spreading hateful rhetoric on Facebook. And stop pretending there isn’t terrible news around the world.
Do what you can. Teach kindness in your home. Pray. Send a check to a worthy organization working toward peace and justice. Send a letter to your elected officials. Follow and support the earth summit in Paris. Learn about someone different from you. Heck, fly to Greece and hand-fit baby carriers to refugees on the shore of the Mediterranean.
If we all make an effort to prepare this Advent season (and beyond) for something better in the near and far future, we can make a difference. We can be transformative.
We are agents of peace, honesty, and justice. Let’s stop living idly in the world we’re in and start preparing for a world of peace by spreading gratitude and living unconventionally.
Happy New Year!