WOMEN AS PEACEMAKERS

a writing by Elizabeth Padillo Olesen



I have been given five minutes to make this reflection with you on women as we approach the Christmas season. I have been asked to expound on the preposition that women are peacemakers. I think it is relevant to take up this theme especially this month of December. If we look around at homes, shops and offices with all the colours and decorations, we can see that everyone has been busy to paint the spirit of Christmas,

But what is Christmas, if we look at it as an event that testifies to God becoming flesh, promising salvation to humanity? Christmas is the story of the incarnation, the birth of the Prince of Peace in our world, in our own life-situations.

What is the place of women in the Advent of Peace? A woman played a role in this incarnation event. A woman gave birth to the Prince of Peace. Mary allowed to be used for God’s purpose. The Christmas story, which is celebrated in the Christian world, must therefore affirm the truth that women are peacemakers for having obeyed to the call for God’s purpose. In the incarnation event, the role of women as life-giving, life-obeying is affirmed.

Often I wonder why Jesus had to be born into a family. A powerful God could have used a much more dramatic strategy of revealing himself. Why use a woman in a common family to be a channel of his divine purpose? The Christmas story of a God incarnate in a family to offer peace and salvation tells us of a God who values family life. In our modern society the traditional form of families with parents and children have changed tremendously. But whatever structure of a family we find at present, we can see that the family is an institution where intimate relationship of love and service can be experienced.

What roles do women play in family as wife, mother, teacher, nurse, house worker, wage earner and more? Women have an active role in shaping lives of children, their role of nurturing children to be ambassadors of peace. Here in this family starts a woman’s work for peace with men with the strong and rigid patriarchy. How to deal with husbands who strongly feel that they are kings in their own families, that they are the decision-makers for big things and the women for small things? Here in the homes women have the possibility to seek for equality and justice. Here in this family starts our work for building up peace with our neighbours. Our houses are with windows through which we can look at the situation outside our own concerns and ourselves and participate in building up peace.

So in the life of Jesus from birth to death, the role of women as peacemakers, as co-peacemakers, is seen.

How is this role displayed? First, it is marked with deep obedience to God’s call to be used as channel of peace. Mary accepted in utter obedience to conceive or give birth to Jesus. As women we are asked to accept the role as peacemakers as completely within God ‘s plan to be peacemakers in the home, in our working places, in the neighbourhoods and society.

Secondly, it is marked with the full conviction in the value of family life as channel of peace. When families are threatened from inside and outside by forces that seem to tear them apart, it is a must that women should once again attempt to do all the means to protect family life, and to bring it back to the original plan of creation. This calls for the values of humility, prayers, forgiveness and proper communication. In situations when traditional families dissolve by divorce or by other reasons or problems, the role of women as peacemakers continues through their innate capacity to love and serve.

Thirdly, it is marked with the full recognition that children are not ours. Jesus was not meant to serve the pride and egos of Mary and Joseph. His life was meant for all- in the service for all.
Women as peacemakers do their best to take care of their children, still inculcating values of simplicity, honesty, perseverance, faith and service. It is in living simply that one is able to share with others who have less in life. It is in honesty that brings the true face of truth. It is in faith that one can be guided when the road turns dark and meaningless. It is in service that one experiences joy in what it is to be blessed.

___________________
December 2010

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