Having lit the candle of hope last Sunday, we take time this week to remember that as well as being the hope of the world, Jesus is also our peace. In the busyness of the Christmas season, it’s easy to get carried away with the pressures and anxieties that society places on us through the expectations of the season (or, what we in the West have imposed on it). But God desires that those who place their trust in him should not live as ones who are characterized by stressfully straining to succeed with the perfect presents or the most magnificent meal.
Rather, we remember that after God created the heavens and the earth he rested (Gen 2:2), that Jesus taught us seek to peace and reconciliation with our enemies (Matt 5:24), and that one Day there will be no more tears, or conflict, or mourning, or death (Rev 21:4).
This Advent season we take encouragement from God’s words to us spoken through the prophet Isaiah, hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
Jesus did come. He was born. And John the evangelist records for us this great gift that he bestowed upon his disciples:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)
The good news is that the peace Jesus bestows wasn’t only for his disciples back then. Nor is it only a future peace for which we must wait. Rather, this peace is available to us today, and Jesus not only gives it to us, but he calls us as his followers to be peacemakers; those who would carry his peace with them to a world that is definitely not at peace. He entrusts it to us.
This Advent, we ask for this peace as we prepare for our Lord’s birth. May divisions in ourselves and in our families be peacefully resolved. May there be peace in our cities and in the countries of our world. Lord, help us to see the choices that cultivate peace in every aspect of our own lives, and then give to us the courage to choose. Lord, let us remember that in you only will we truly find peace, and continue to look forward with longing for your arrival.
Come, Lord Jesus.