As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Such a familiar verse for us, yet a verse we are very quick to forget. It is easy for us to be proud, arrogant, argumentative, and intolerant. Yet in this passage we are called to be different people. We are called to stand up and press on against the ways of the world.
As we see violence taking shape in our country and around the world we are called to have compassion, to be kind, to be patient. As family members struggle to find jobs we are called to be thankful and sing psalms and hymns with gratitude in our hearts. As the world presses on in what seems to be dark and troublesome times we are called to let the peace of Christ dwell in our hearts. As others mistreat us and ones we loved we are called to do all things in the name of Jesus Christ.
This isn't an easy way to live. I'm constantly working towards this peace, humility, kindness, compassion, and love. In doing so I fall and scrape my knees, but I also get up and dust the dirt off of me and press on. When we work towards living a life in gratitude toward Christ we become a light in a dark and seemingly hopeless world. When we love one another out of love for Christ, we have compassion on those the world would like to sweep under the rug and forget about. When we let peace dwell in our hearts, we show the world that peace is achievable.
As I prepare to approach this season of Advent, I remember these things because Christ exemplified them. Not only do we await the Lord's birth again, but the world is awaiting a time of peace, a time of compassion, a world of love and this world is something worth striving for. This will be my 21st Christmas, and each year I think there is no way this one can be any different than any of the others, but I learn something new each and every time and I look forward to spending time in scripture, in prayer, in hope, in joy, in peace, and in love.
And in all that I do in the coming weeks I hope I do all things in a thankful heart, doing them all in the name of Jesus Christ, the one whom we await yet again.
The world needs us to be kindness, to be compassion, to be peace, to be love, to be humility...we can do it...we have to do it.