“They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.”
~from Isaiah 2:4, first Sunday of Advent, November 27
In his opening reflection in this year’s Advent reflection booklet, our Bishop-President, Bishop John Stowe, muses on what these four weeks hold for us. He takes his cue from Isaiah in the first reading of the first Sunday of Advent. Bishop Stowe writes:
“…[I]t is Isaiah, the poet, who helps us dream and imagine what the day of the Lord will be like. Isaiah will be a faithful companion in the four weeks ahead; he is not afraid to imagine the unimaginable and hope for radical transformation of our ‘business as usual’ world. Today we hear the dream of people streaming towards the mountain of the Lord’s house, with all of the effort that climbing requires, and seeking instruction. The dream of Isaiah is about the day when ‘one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor train for war again.’ That is the dream of Ukrainians for sure, the dream of Palestinians, the dream of so many around the world who want to wake up from their present nightmare of war and violence. But it needs to be our dream as well, in the most prosperous nation in the world with the largest military force.
“All I want for Christmas is… for swords to be beaten into plowshares, spears into pruning hooks. Let military budgets be spent on gardening instruments and means to produce food for a hungry world. Let Christians stop using doctrine and disciplines as weapons and learn how much hunger there is for the Word of God. Then we can truly celebrate the Word made Flesh.”
This is the Advent we journey together, the vision of Isaiah made flesh and blood in the baby born in a manger in Bethlehem. The baby who will grow into the man who will “guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79). We hope that the reflections and resources below offer you ample opportunity this Advent to pray, study and act for a world that reflects the “peace of Christ”.
REFLECTIONS FOR SUNDAYS AND HOLY DAYS
Below you’ll find reflections selected from this year’s Advent-Christmas reflection booklet as well as others from a variety of authors of past reflection booklets. Reflections for each upcoming Sunday will be posted typically on the preceding Tuesday, with Holy Days and other days of observance throughout Advent and Christmas posted regularly as well. We’ll also be sending our weekly Advent emails directly to your inbox if you’re subscribed to our free email service. (Click here to sign up if you are not already subscribed to our free email service.)
- First Sunday of Advent, November 27, the first reflection by Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv., and the second by Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Jim Douglass
- Second Sunday of Advent, December 4, by Msgr. Ray East, Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
- Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, December 8, by Janice and Gerry Vanderhaar, Pax Christi USA Ambassadors of Peace
- International Human Rights Day, December 10, by Cathy Woodson, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace
- Third Sunday of Advent, December 11, by Joan Chittister, osb, Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
- Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12, by Fr. John Dear, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace
- Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 18, by Rose Berger
- Christmas Eve, December 24, by Fr. Joe Nangle, ofm, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace
- Christmas, December 25, by Arturo Chavez
- Feast of the Holy Innocents, December 28, by Vickie Machado
- Feast of the Holy Family, December 30, by Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN
- New Year’s Day – Solemnity of Mary – World Day of Peace, January 1, by Fr. John Rausch, Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
- Epiphany Sunday, January 8, by Mary Lou Kownacki, osb, Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
- Advent, Christmas & Epiphany Prayers and Rituals for Families, Small Groups, includes Advent wreath rituals, Christmas tree blessings, Epiphany blessing and more…
PRAY-STUDY-ACT DURING ADVENT
Each week, we’ll be crafting a special Pray-Study-Act e-bulletin (PSA) with resources for us all to use and to act on in common.
- PSA e-bulletin for the First Week of Advent, Nov. 27-Dec. 3
- PSA e-bulletin for the Second Week of Advent, Dec. 4-10
- PSA e-bulletin for the Third Week of Advent, Dec. 11-17
- PSA e-bulletin for the Fourth Week of Advent, Dec. 18-24
COMMUNITY ADVENT GATHERINGS (VIRTUAL)
- Pax Christi USA Community Weekly Advent Prayer Service, Mondays, 8:30-9pm ET, on Nov. 28, Dec. 5, 12, and 19, join with members of the Pax Christi USA family from around the nation for a short prayer service with short readings from our Advent-Christmas reflection booklet, the lighting of the Advent candles, and more. Click here to register.
- PAX Mass for December, Thursday, December 22 at 8pm ET: Celebrating the culmination of our 50th anniversary year and the birth of peace this Christmas.
ADVENT RETREAT SERIES ON GOSPEL NONVIOLENCE
Join us for an online Advent Retreat series with Cranaleith Spiritual Center, Tuesdays in December. Click here for more information.
PAX CHRISTI YOUNG ADULT CAUCUS ADVENT RETREAT
On Saturday, December 17th, the Pax Christi Young Adult Caucus will be hosting a mini-Advent retreat online. We’ll be gathering on Zoom from 12:00-4:00 p.m. ET/9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. PT for individual and collective reflection.
This retreat will explore St. Joseph’s “incredible dream” that impels him to “claim responsibility” for Mary, his betrothed, and the child she will bear. Join us for an afternoon of prayer and faith-sharing as we ask, how are we being called to claim responsibility for our beloved neighbor this Advent season? Young adult leaders will share reflections on the path of migrants, immigrants, refugees, asylum-seekers, and the global family of dreamers who leave everything they have known to take a walk of faith.
To register, complete this brief form. If you complete the registration by Monday, December 5th, we will mail you retreat materials in advance. Feel free to pass the invitation along to other young adults!
If you have any questions, please reach out to the PCYAC leadership team at PCYAC@PaxChristiUSA.org.
Our Advent-Christmas appeal is our end-of-the-year appeal, and we are delighted to have a special message from Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Martin Sheen to share with you in honor of the closing of our Jubilee year. We appreciate any extra support you can give as we plan for the health of our movement for the next 50 years! If you have the means, we hope you’ll click here and make a special gift to the Advent-Christmas appeal.
To read the entire appeal letter from Martin, click here. And thank you!
- Pax Christi USA’s 2022 Advent-Christmas Reflection Booklet, Living Always in Joyful Anticipation, is co-authored by Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv. and four members of the Pax Christi Young Adult Caucus leadership team, Lauren Bailey, Creede Caldwell, Honorine Uwimana, and Sr. Annie Killian, OP. You can get an electronic copy of the booklet for just $2.00 as an immediate PDF download for your e-reader or tablet; order it by clicking here.
- Advent, Christmas & Epiphany Prayers and Rituals for Families, Small Groups from Pax Christi USA, includes Advent wreath rituals, Christmas tree blessings, Epiphany blessing and more…
- Advent Guide 2022: Living Gospel Nonviolence from the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
- The First Advent in Palestine, by Kelly Nikonheda, an Advent resource and video series from Friends of Sabeel, North America
- Anti-war toy flier created by Rosemarie Pace of Pax Christi New York
- Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case for a More Joyful Christmas, by Bill McKibben
- Unplug the Christmas Machine: A Complete Guide to Putting Love and Joy Back into the Season, by Jo Robinson & Jean C. Staeheli
ADVENT ACTION OPPORTUNITIES:
- Commit your congregation to Preach Palestine this Advent season
- Sign on to the Christmas truce for Ukraine!
- Join the World AIDS Day vigil on December 1
- Join the Virtual Delegation of Roses, Dec. 2 at 7pm ET, commemorating the 42nd anniversary of the martyrdom of the four U.S. Churchwomen
- This Advent, help us build (bake?!) a better world
- Plan a vigil or action for the Feast of the Holy Innocents on Dec. 28th with tie-ins to the Bread Not Stones campaign using the toolkit from the September BNS Days of Action.