I think of Advent as an in-between time. Advent is in-between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Doctrinally it’s the time in-between the first coming and the second coming of the Messiah. Advent symbolizes the time in-between the Kingdom of God being at hand and preparing for the Kingdom of God. The Church sure can make something intended to be simple very complicated without much effort!
The prophet Isaiah had a vision that “nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.” In other words, since there is no longer a need for swords, iron smiths would refashion swords into plows. Spears would be remade into pruning hooks.
And why not? Why couldn’t instruments of war be destroyed and remade into tools for agriculture? Why couldn’t military installations be used to solved the world’s housing crisis? Why couldn’t military bases be turned into summer and science camps for children? Nuclear fission projects that were accelerated for World War II weapons needs have been repurposed for civilian use in generating electricity and medical radiopharmaceuticals.
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 any more. ~ Isaiah 2:4
Advent isn’t just the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas or us marking time until we can open gifts under the Christmas tree. It’s the time of waiting and preparing for the kingdom of God on earth. It’s a time of wondering and pondering how the truths of Christ coming and coming again, of being here in our midst are lived out practically in a world torn with division and poverty and war.
We all have tendencies toward violence and retaliation in our relationships – some more overt than others. How can you break that cycle of violence and retaliation and turn it into peace and reconciliation in your relationships?
What are some creative ways nations could turn their swords into plowshares?
Gracious and loving God, I confess that my own self-interests often clouds my perception and views toward others who are different from me in thought, word, and deed. Help me to welcome the Prince of Peace into my life so that I might be reshaped more and more by Your kingdom. Amen.