They have treated the wound of my people carelessly,
saying, “Peace, peace,”
when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14, NRSV).
This isn’t the recommended scripture for the Second Sunday of Advent, but it’s the verse I thought of when I lit the second candle, the candle of peace. It’s a decidedly un-Adventy verse, although it actually, would fit right in. Advent surprises me every year with its rawness and hostility. The message doesn’t get feel-goody until Mary sings the magnificat, and even that is unsettling if you happen to be on the side of the privileged.
Shame on Advent for being so real. I want my Sunday of peace to be peaceful, not a pretend peace, or even the promise of a future peace. I want to jump ahead to the good food, the beautiful carols, the memorizing lights. The truth is, someone has to work for the money to buy the food, to purchase and prepare it. People have to practice for hours to sing the carols worth a hoot. And someone has clean the house (I cannot abide decorating on top of dirt; I imagine Joan Crawford and I have that in common), move the furniture, get the tree up, and pray the lights will work this year.
In years past, I’ve enjoyed doing all of this. But this year it feels like a big headache. For the first time I can see why families opt to rent a mountain cabin or go on a cruise during Christmas.
I’m not going to sit here and say, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace. But I will leave room for Advent to do its work. We’ve got two more weeks of it after all.
I remember a hymn from back in my church days. It went something like…
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me…
I am trying not to see the advent wreath in the negative; each lit candle feels like an anxious reminder I’ve done nothing for christmas and there is less and less time now….
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I feel better now that the tree is up. About a third of what I usually do isn’t going up this year unless I break and do it anyway.