Seasonal Reflection and Prayer Advent, 2016

Reflecting on Peace


Advent—a time that means coming. We associate it with the coming of Jesus as a newborn baby, but also as a coming again. We also consider it a time of preparation for His coming and for all the trappings that we have added to that: decorations; special foods, drinks, and desserts; lessons and carols; concerts; and whatever else may be a part of each person’s family tradition or cultural heritage. Coming can often bring with it lots of anxiety, and this year we have the extra anxiety of a coming new presidency and administration filled with more unknowns than we might want to face. In that spirit, I offer you as both reflection and prayer “Advent” by Fr. Daniel Berrigan, SJ, found in Testimony: The Word Made Fresh, published by Orbis Books in 2004.



It is not true that creation and the human family are doomed to destruction and loss—
This is true: For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son
          that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination, hunger and poverty,
          death and destruction—
This is true: I have come that they may have life, and that abundantly.

It is not true that violence and hatred should have the last word,
          and that war and destruction rule forever—
This is true: For unto us a child is born, and unto us a Son is given,
          and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting, the Prince of Peace.

It is not true that we are simply victims of the powers of evil who seek to rule the world—
This is true: To me is given authority in heaven and on earth,
          and lo, I am with you, even unto the end of the world.

It is not true that we have to wait for those who are specially gifted,
          who are the prophets of the church, before we can be peacemakers.
This is true: I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy,
          your young shall see visions, and your old shall have dreams.

It is not true that our hopes for liberation of humankind, of justice, of human dignity, of peace
          are not meant for this earth and for this history—
This is true: The hour comes, and it is now,
          that true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth.

So let us enter Advent in hope, even hope against hope.
Let us see visions of love and peace and justice.

Let us affirm with humility, with joy, with faith, with courage:
Jesus Christ—the Life of the world.


Suggested Actions

  • - During this Advent season, make time for prayer every day. Return to Fr. Berrigan’s prayer/reflection/poem above frequently. Also consider using one of many Advent reflection booklets, for example the one Pax Christi USA publishes, available at:

    - In addition to Fr. Berrigan’s “Advent” piece, identify one other thing that gives you hope and embrace it and share it with others who may be needing your encouragement.

    - As you prepare for the coming of Christmas, do what makes it most joyful, calming, and generous for you without forgetting the true reason for the season. If decorating becomes more stressful than enjoyable, cut back. If baking overwhelms you, let it go. If shopping drains you, choose alternative ways to tell people you care. Let your priority be Jesus and, in his honor, people, not things.

    - Gift the world with yourself: Commit to one act of peace-building and justice-making. Volunteer, write a letter, sign a petition, join a vigil, or make a charitable donation to support people in need here at home or overseas. Stand with your gay, Muslim, immigrant, or disabled neighbors. Speak out for the Sioux nations in Standing Rock, ND. Advocate for refugees escaping conflict in their homelands. Be Christ for one another.

    - When you do shop, especially for children, keep in mind that we are about to celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Peace. Choose accordingly. For ideas, read PCMNY’s flier, “Time to Celebrate Love, Time to Celebrate Peace.”

Reflection Archives

2016: Fall  Summer  Easter  Lent  Ordinary Time   2015: Christmas 
Advent  Ordinary Time   Easter   Lent     2014:    Christmas   Advent         


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