The problem of racism runs very deep within the soul of America, and it must be attended to if this country is to live up to its high ideal of the equality of all people.
The way of peace is controversial. To favor peace in practice goes against the culture, and the consequences are negative. It was for Jesus. He mentioned the good news of the gospel in his hometown community of faith, and they were filled with rage and ran him out of town (Luke 4:28-29). Likewise, those who stand against war might find themselves run out by their communities of faith.
The work of Christmas, because it is the work of Jesus, becomes for us a lifelong Christian imperative. It begins by caring about the things Jesus cared about. Then, perhaps someday, we might at least make a difference to one of them.
Just as an Easter faith celebrates the resurrection each Sunday, a Holy Saturday faith—suspended between the bad news of the crucifixion and the good news of the resurrection—might have significance beyond Holy Week in a world similarly suspended between death and life.
Peace, when it comes, is indeed a gift, and certainly when it is brought about by the Spirit. How, though, are we becoming peacemakers during this holy season? How are we promoting peace now and into the New Year, which holds both promise and challenge?
Unbeknownst to my family when my husband and son were sick last Christmas, God was preparing us a year ago for a season of birthing that would be—and still is—profoundly difficult. When I read the song of Mary now, in the midst of this pandemic, my longing is not for the return of Christmas past. I believe we are laboring together for a world where the hungry are filled, unjust rulers removed from their thrones, and the humble raised to places of honor. I remember anew that the light we pass is symbolic of the call to radically redistribute God’s resources in the world. We aren’t yet holding that newborn life in our arms, but the midwife has asked us to breathe deeply and feel for when it’s time to push. We are preparing the way.