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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Advent, day 12

Today is Nobel dagen (The day of Nobel) in Sweden. It's a great part of living in Stockholm with round the clock TV coverage, including long, boring scenes of the dinner, but it's fun to see the tables and what people are wearing and imagine that someday you will get to go. Ha. A man who used to sit on the committee that chose the Physics prize winner used to live upstairs from us. When we inquired about how one gets to go to the ceremony and the dinner, he dryly replied, "Win the prize." So far, no Nobel in theology exists so my chances are looking slim, but I have enjoyed learning more about the Nobel prizes while living here in Stockholm. For the record, the Nobel prizes that are awarded in Stockholm are for Chemistry, Physics, Economics (first female winner ever this year, yea!), Literature and Medicine. Oslo, Norway holds the ceremony for the Peace prize which as you all know was won by US President Barack Obama. There has been much controversy over his winning this award and of course, the timing of the prize just a few days after he revealed that he will send more troops into Afghanistan is challenging, to say the least. I'm not thrilled with his decision on the Afghan war but what good decision exists in that situation? I felt that under difficult circumstances, President Obama gave a good speech. He was honest, it had integrity, it admitted to the complexities of his choices given his ultimate responsibility to protect the United States. He was humble and articulate and tried to reason out why war is a necessary evil on the road to peace even though he also made clear that it is a regrettable road. He also acknowledged the many people who work for peace under great duress blocked from the world's attention who were deserving of the prize as well. I appreciated what he had to say and it was thrilling to come home for lunch and watch it live from Oslo.
So today I've been thinking about peace and how each one of us can make the world a more peaceful place. I believe that Jesus ultimately came into this world to bring peace. Sadly, religious conflicts have been the source of much blood shed through the years. But I do think Christianity at its core strives for peace among peoples promoting acceptance, unconditional love, being saved by grace and yes, even loving ones enemies. So perhaps we cannot solve the problems of the world's great conflicts, but we can strive to be a peace-promoting and peace-loving person in the places that we do touch.
For me, Nobel dagen has provided a day each December 10th when people are honored for contributions that reach far and wide. It is thrilling to come into some small contact with these giants of their fields who in their own way are seeking to make the world a better place. Even though no diploma, no gold medal, no huge sum of money await me...and while dinner with the King and Queen will have to wait for another time, I do want to be a person who seeks to make the world a better place in my own way, touching in a positive manner those people whose lives I can influence.