Advent Reflection -- Fourth Sunday
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
John 14: 27
Walk the long and tedious road from Nazareth in the north, rugged and rock-strewn, to the little town of Bethlehem, the traditional home of King David’s family line. The land, then as now, was ruled roughshod and occupied by a troubled tangle of people with clashing languages, customs, and faiths. Mary and Joseph, faithful and probably fearful, came to a town overflowing with visitors. And here, to this town that was far from peaceful, God chose to come into the world in a very special way, entering, as the hymnist wrote, quietly, in a world of sin, where meek souls will receive him.
For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above, while mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love. O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth, and praises sing to God the king, and peace to all on earth!
(“O Little Town of Bethlehem,” 2nd Stanza, from The United Methodist Hymnal, Phillips Brooks, 1835-1893)