category: Advent

Advent Reflection: Day 2

Monday, November 30

Psalm 79; Micah 4:1–5 Revelation 15:1–8

The simplest objects can become weapons with which to inflict violence upon our fellow human beings: sticks, stones, and even our fists and our knees. God creates humanity from the dust of the earth. We use that same dust to create means by which we might annihilate those made in God’s image. Through our individual and collective willful disobedience to the law of love, we have made enemies of one another.

 No longer do we have the luxury of the scriptural command to welcome the stranger as we might welcome Christ. We now can see more clearly than ever before that the stranger is our enemy—who wants what we own, who wants what they do not have, who wants our life. We arm ourselves in this violent age so that we might feel safe. We believe that this is simply a matter of self–preservation.

As we begin Advent this year, such is the state of our bent and fragmented world. Perhaps it was always so. The Psalm chosen for today certainly reflects such an awareness in another age: “How long, O Lord?”

Prophets long ago looked hopefully through the confusion and injustices of their own days. They dreamed of a time when sticks and stones once used for weapons would be employed only to tend gardens. They dreamed of when, instead of bloodshed and violence in the streets, there would be Shalom. Shalom is that special state of being where all enjoy peace and security, where there is no hunger, want, or fear. Where all are loved. Where none is forgotten.

Will we allow the Prince of Shalom to be born anew in our lives this Advent? Will we allow God to use us as instruments of God’s peace? Can we agree as followers of the One who has conquered all the powers of darkness that we will study war no more? Will we ask that God help us to greet the stranger with all the love and goodwill with which we might greet a small and defenseless newborn baby?

T. Perry Hildreth
Professor of Philosophy

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