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By Bishop José García
“For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” —Isaiah 9:6
Every year, the season of Advent compels Christians to reflect and prepare for the celebration commemorating the birth of Jesus. There are different practices observed by Christians of different traditions as a way of reminding them of the hope, peace, joy, and love that is evoked by the fulfillment of God’s promise of a Messiah.
At the time of this prophecy, God’s people were experiencing a time of darkness and gloom due to war and conflict with their neighboring kingdoms, and because of their continual departure from keeping the ordinances of the Sinai covenant.
This covenant did not only outline their relationship and worship to God, but it also prescribed doing what was just and right in their relationship with one another, with special care for the poor, and vulnerable among them. The nation had failed to meet their covenant obligations, however, because of God’s redemptive love.
He revealed to the prophet the coming of a Messiah that would rule with justice and righteousness. That prophecy increased the faith of those who in the midst of what appeared to be an imminent destruction, now had hope and looked forward to the establishment of a kingdom of peace.
Today, many people around the world are facing famines, wars, hunger, poverty, oppression, abuse of power, racism, a public discourse that attempts to strip the most vulnerable of their dignity, and so many other maladies.
Like in the days of Isaiah, Christians, await with great anticipation to a second advent, Christ’s return, and find hope and strength in holding to the promise of the prophecy in Isaiah 9:6, 7. The season of Advent is an opportunity to reflect about God’s promise of peace, what it means, and, an occasion to act upon it.
God’s concept of peace (Shalom) as revealed in the biblical writings, is not only the absence of conflict but it is, wholeness, soundness, health, integrity, well-being, security, reconciliation, prosperity, harmony, and justice.
Christ, the Prince of God’s Shalom, has called us to be His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). An ambassador is someone that represents the values, culture and interests of their nation in order to foster a better relationship with the host country. As Christ’s ambassadors, we represent the values, culture and precepts of the Kingdom of God in this world, in order to restore the broken relationship of humankind with Christ.
As part of that mission, we are compelled to bear a public witness that pursues the peace, of the Prince of Peace, through an advocacy for policies and programs that can end hunger and poverty in our nation and throughout the world. Shalom!
Bishop José García is senior advisor for prayer and evangelical engagement at Bread for the World.
The season of Advent is an opportunity to reflect about God’s promise of peace, what it means, and, an occasion to act upon it.
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