Perhaps you’ve read the book, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson, or seen the film or the play adaptation. It’s the best story I know to share the struggles that people go through in trying to be family to one another. Immediate family, church family, community family… all with their own unique conflicts and problems, and joys and goodness.
This month we will look at what it means to create the family of God in and through our family struggles, using the prophets and the gospel readings from Advent as our foundation, and also wisdom from the Best Christmas Pageant Ever. By the way, the Longmont Theatre Company is producing the play this month, see this LINK for more details. Our church will go together to see in on Friday, Dec 9 at 7 so sign up at the church to join us. Our own Rachelle Bridgestock is in the cast.
So this week, we have Isaiah offering a prophetic word about what peace means. Peace means that opponents sit down together, that enemies get along, and that a child is the one with the true wisdom to show the way. And we also have a quite different reading from the gospels, John the Baptist lashing out and calling the religious ones among him a “brood of vipers” and calling for repentance and justice and punishment for those who have oppressed others.
What is the happy medium here? Between a vision of peace that happens if we all agree to sit at the same table together and a vision of struggle and conflict that shows rough edges that seem far from peaceful?
Advent is a time of longing. Of hoping for what is to come. It is not a season of peace. It is a season of digging through the rough stuff, doing the hard work of justice, to reach the place of peace. So it’s both/and… these scriptures this week, both beckoning us toward peace and showing us that it doesn’t come easy.
Like all our families…. They all have conflict. So much so that some of us struggle just to be in communication with our loved ones. And the recent political climate has in fact broken some family ties, severed some relationships, though hopefully they can one day be repaired.
Just like in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, there is a lot of rough and tumble, tough and dramatic conflict when the Herdmans enter the church family to participate in the annual pageant. No one wants the Herdmans there… and they create anything but peace as the wreak havoc on the reheasrals and their interpretation of the events… and yet, in the end, no one has ever experienced the Christ Child’s birth in such a meaningful way.
The advent word for this week is Peace…. But it isn’t a word that should stand alone. And it isn’t a noun for us in this context. Peace is a verb for us this year, an action…. And it requires clear minds, open hearts and arms, and a lot of struggle and, yes, even conflict, to be achieved. But we can do it.
Thoughts? Email me at email@example.com or click on the link below to comment here.