Advent Devotions 2017
December 11, 2017
Swords into Plowshares: An Advent Meditation on Peace
Imagine Mary and Joseph adoring the newborn Baby Jesus. Although these young parents knew their child was sent by God for a holy purpose, surely they couldn’t imagine the unspeakably cruel execution he would suffer. Fast forward to modern day parents adoring a newborn baby. As they gaze upon their precious child, surely their thoughts drift into hopes for the child’s future. Probably the last thing they would imagine at such a tender moment is that the child would end up being wounded or killed in war.
I believe that war is the ultimate obscenity, the most severe departure from God’s intended behavior of those God created. The physical and psychological consequences of war endure for a lifetime and are passed down through generations. The taking of one life through violence is an obscenity; the wholesale slaughter of war is an obscenity of incalculable proportion.
Although murder and warfare are as old as Genesis, it seems that every generation must re-learn its horrors. Do you remember scenes from famous movies such as Gone with the Wind and Cold Mountain in which excited young men gleefully anticipate the coming of the Civil War and boast about the swift and decisive defeat of the enemy? Later in those films, we see what really happened: hundreds of wounded and dying soldiers lying on the ground; surgeons removing limbs while men in agony, anesthetized only with whiskey, bite hard on pieces of leather… a far cry from the pre-war dreams of glory.
The promise of Peace on Earth is my fondest Christmas blessing. It is beautifully described in Isaiah 11:
6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
9 They shall neither hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain;
There is a wonderful 8-minute video available on YouTube called Arigato from Japan Earthquake Victims. In one scene, an armada of American warships is seen speeding toward Japan with relief for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. I could not help but reflect that in World War II, American warships sped toward Japan on a far different mission. The role reversal for warships was a Kingdom Moment in 2011.
And He shall judge among the nations…and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Written by Ed Pruden
Art by Justin