Christmas: Set the pace for peace
Written by Tara Lamont Eastman : November 25, 2008
The last weekend of November marks the beginning of the Advent, setting time for all of us to expectantly wait for the blessings of the Christmas season. While there are many opportunities this upcoming month to worship, serve and celebrate with friends and family; I’d like to suggest that this Advent season we should consider ways of setting a pace for peace.
When researching the word pace, I came across an image of a flag used by an Italian peace organization established in 1961. I discovered that the Italian word for “pace” is our word for “peace”.
“The Italian PEACE flag was inspired by the flag of Anglo-Saxon pacifists who marched in Aldermaston for an anti-nuclear protest, led by Bertrand Russell. Mr. Capitini asked some housewives from Perugia, who were friends of him, to sew with all possible speed some colored stripes to form a flag to be shown during the march. The women choose to sew the background of the flag in the colors of the rainbow in remembrance of the story of the Flood. God provided the rainbow after the flood as a seal of his alliance with humans and nature, promising that will never be another Flood. So the rainbow became the symbol of peace between the Earth and Heaven, therefore these ladies felt it was a good reminder of peace to humankind, making it their flag’s foundation.
The Advent and Christmas season, is one where the words, “Peace on earth” are commonly seen on cards and heard on television commercials amidst the mass of commerce-driven advertisements. It might be possible for us to grasp peace as a reality this advent, if we are intentional in setting a calmer pace in our celebrations and traditions we take part in.
Just one of the ways that American families sometimes participate in the hectic pace of the holiday season revolves around November 28th, the day after Thanksgiving. This day is traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year and has earned the title of “Black Friday” due to the stress-filled accounts of early morning sales, over-crowded stores and a hectic paced shopping atmosphere.
In reaction to consumer-driven chaos of “Black Friday” a campaign called, “Buy nothing day” was set for November 28th to encourage people to not buy anything for 24 hours and begin thinking of ways to celebrate the holiday season that don’t revolve around what can be purchased. This year, the campaign has taken on a new twist and has been coined, “Make something day!” Instead of spending the traditional shopping day at the mall, what if we spent the day with our family and friends, making gifts from previously collected craft supplies or thrift store items? In this small way, we would make gifts and memories with and for the people we are closest too and take a step to set a pace for peace this holiday season. Without peace or pace – life is chaos!
While holiday shopping is one way we all celebrate this season of giving, we might be surprised by the joy that a “Make something day” could add to our treasury of holiday traditions. I encourage you and your family to find ways of celebrating this season of wonder by taking part in traditions that foster peace, joy and love in anticipation of Christmas morning having gained a greater understanding of the priceless gift God gives though Jesus.
Peace on earth and good will to humankind,
(For more information on Make Something Day go to: www.makesomethingday.org
Set your pace
Setting a pace is not the same as running full tilt desperately trying to win a race.
Setting a pace allows for breathing, for seeing, and energy for kicking it when the finish is almost reaching.
Work in movement and take the time to stretch, to sing and even to rhyme.
We need so badly to check out and play: with dreams, paint and even some clay.
In setting a pace I will strive to succeed, avoiding frenzy - panic - and always having somewhere to be.
I need to create, express and to see - makes a much better person than hurry tries to force me to be.
Opening my eyes and unplugging my ears, will give me more wisdom and stay off frustrated tears.
Set the pace, allow some space, set the place, write it down and make the time.
Set your pace.
Poem by: T.L. Eastman 2008
Author Bio:: Tara Lamont Eastman is a youth worker, blogger, poet and songwriter. She lives in Western NY with her husband and two children.
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