ADVENT WEEK TWO: WHAT IS PEACE
Let’s be honest. December is not always the most peaceful time of year. If you work retail during the biggest (translation: most hectic) shopping season, you may be struggling to find peace. If you’re studying for exams, writing or grading midterms you might not be overwhelmed with the calm of peace. If you’re rushing to the grocery after work to pick up the ingredients to make the cookies tonight for the class or office party tomorrow, you might not be feeling uber peaceful. If your list is long and your to-dos are multiplying, even if you LOVE Christmastime, it might make you feel slightly frantic.
This was not God’s intent when He sent Jesus down to earth. The angels didn’t proclaim anything about running around like a bunch of crazies to celebrate the Savior’s birth. Nope. They said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth PEACE, good will toward men.” --Luke 2:14
Peace. What brings you peace? Quilts. Logs glowing, emitting warmth from the fireplace. A frothy, spicy mug of chai. The lights twinkling on the tree. These things, even the mention of them, help me exhale and find a moment of peace. So I seek these moments. I treasure them. I literally drink them in, and try to hold onto them, to fuel up my peace reservoir as I dive in head first tomorrow into the whirlwind of life. But sadly, they’re temporal.
Because even when we find blessed moments of peace, life continues, and not just the cleaning the house for company, sliding cards into envelopes, and wrapping the gifts for the giving tree parts of life, but the reality of life. Paying bills, shoveling the driveway, going to doctor’s appointments. Today I got my first MRI. MRI’s are about as peaceful as being strapped inside a jackhammer. When we face these moments in our lives how do we maintain peace?
We turn back to Jesus. Because He offers us peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:7). A health article I read about staying calm during an MRI suggested you find your “happy place” while in the tube. The ocean where I hear the waves, feel my husband’s warm fingers wrapped around my hand, watch my kids leaping in and out of the waves is one of my happiest places. And it just scratches the surface of the kind of peace Christ offers. So during my MRI I imagined the ocean, because I feel God’s presence there, bigger than anything I can conjure, more massive than anything man could explain or create—that endless water pulled by the magnetism of the moon, filled with thousands of creatures I’ve never even heard of or seen that can live without oxygen, sunrises more exquisite than the lollipop colors of the stained glass in Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. Family vacations sadly always come to an end, but because when I'm at the beach I’m communing with Jesus, even the thought of it brings me peace. So during my MRI, I focused on it. They also gave me headphones, and asked what I wanted to listen to. I chose worship music, closed my eyes, and let reaffirming words of how much Jesus loves me flow into my ears. And there, in the unlikliest of places, I found peace. Because Jesus' peace is always there for us, if we're willing to tap into it.
Where do you commune with Jesus? A hike in the woods? Singing worship during a service or in your car with the radio turned up? Reading the Bible? Closing your eyes and talking to Him about your day?
Jesus delivers this inexplicable gift of perfect peace on our doormats, just like the UPS man drops off all the things you ordered on CyberMonday. But we have to open the door and pick peace up. If we leave peace on our doormat it does us no good. We have to go to it, grab it; it’s ours for the taking—an incredible gift that Jesus offers us during Christmas and everyday.
Don’t leave it on your doormat. When we tap into the peace Jesus offers, all our fears and troubles are lessened, because our God is able to conquer them all. As long as we linger there, what we were worried about dims in magnitude. His peace isn’t temporary like the peace the world offers us; it’s all encompassing and everlasting. Find time to slip into your peaceful place with Him today.
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Laura L. Smith