Armor for Advent Times
“Put on God’s armor so that you can make a stand against the tricks of the devil. We aren’t fighting against human enemies but against rulers, authorities, forces of cosmic darkness, and spiritual powers of evil in the heavens.” – Ephesians 6:11-13
I don’t like the image of militarized Christians much, and I never want to encourage the idea of Crusades-like armies.
I do, however, like the idea of standing up to “rulers, authorities, forces of cosmic darkness, and spiritual powers of evil.” We live in a world where too much power is given to those who should not have it. Walter Wink called these “powers and principalities” and talked about how our true allegiance must never be to them, but to Christ.
The good news of Advent is that help is coming. God is daring to break into our world once again, and to stand with us. It doesn’t matter how well-armed the world may be, the peace of Christ will always prevail in the end.
The only trouble for us is that until that happens, we have to survive, not just physically, but spiritually. And this is where the armor of God makes sense. This is not the armor that one puts on in order to go into battle. This is the armor that keeps us safe while we keep doing the everyday work of following Christ. We walk through the work clothed in truth, justice, faith, and peace. We shrug off every arrow that comes our way. We choose a different path.
To be God’s Advent people, to refuse to be won over by the violence of powers and principalities, is more devastating to the established order than any war we could wage. To choose instead to walk the path to Bethlehem, and to welcome Christ’s light into the world once again, is to strike a true death blow against the false powers of the world.
God, help me to walk through Advent unarmed, but always protected by you.
Emily C. Heath is the Senior Pastor of The Congregational Church in Exeter (New Hampshire) and the author most recently of Courageous Faith: How to Rise and Resist in a Time of Fear.