News stories of the on-going wars in Ukraine and the Holy Land are amplifying my Advent longings this year. Like any beloved holiday treat missing a key ingredient, the Advent season-ings of hope, joy, and love are left lacking in the absence of peace.

The prophet Isaiah, the beloved narrator of our Advent script, is likely to blame for creating this conundrum. 

In days to come
    the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains
    and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.

    Many peoples shall come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
    to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
    and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction
    and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations
    and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
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 2:2-4

God’s way, the promised one that we prepare for, is the way of peace.  And the suffering of innocents, caught in the middle of wars not of their making, gives me pause and leaves my Advent journey feeling like it won’t arrive at its intended destination.

My friend, John Hermanson, a songwriter and performer, took inspiration from Isaiah to create an album of music that has become an Advent devotional for many.  In his song, “We’ll Not Train for War,” John grabs ahold of God’s vision for peace and imagines the necessary response of the faithful.  Take a listen…

Perhaps the antidote to what might be missing from our Advent is a recommitment to what is required?  With God’s help, I pray that it will be.

May God’s peace come to you today.  -Pastor Peter

Let us pray… God of our Advent journey, without your way of peace, the pathway to hope, joy, and love fall short of their desired destinations.  Inspire your people to beat swords into plows and to walk in your way.  Amen.