Isaiah 2:1-5; Matthew 8:5-11

It did my heart good to read the words of Isaiah for today. The world often does not seem like a peaceful place. I have seen places where the lives of children break your heart. I have met young people whose lives are scarred by war and violence. My spirit is sometimes devastated at the cruelty of people toward other human beings. But the world does not have to be that way.

We all need to try to bring peace to the world, and we can start in our own little corners. We can try to walk in the paths of the God of Jacob. We can all try to turn whatever our own weapon is into plowshares. Instead of cutting people with words and deeds, let’s sow love and understanding. Instead of using a spear to deflate someone else, let’s turn that spear into a pruning hook and help someone grow and develop.  Let me turn that sharp retort, a raised voice into something reasonable. Let me take a deep breath and practice patience when the phone rings, when I’m interrupted for the umpteenth time. Let me realize that sarcasm and laughing at others can hurt or injure someone. When my day becomes crowded and busy, let me make time for someone who just needs a kind word or a friendly smile.

War and violence are not just in war zones between soldiers. Violence can erupt anywhere, fueled by resentment and hate. Turning swords into plowshares is something we can all do, where we are. As we begin the season of Advent, let each of us try to live out that lovely song: “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

By Carol Zuegner

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