As we continue our Advent pilgrimage, getting closer and closer to the celebration of Christ’s birth, this Sunday we will be lighting the candle of peace on our Advent wreath.
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” (Luke 2:14)
At this time of year, when we talk about peace, the “go to” for many of us is the angels singing peace on earth and good will to all men. But what exactly are we talking about when we say the word peace?
Simply put, peace is the opposite of hostility. When we think about life in general, and the world as we see it (both now and throughout history) there are times of peace and times of war and places where there is peace and other places which are war-torn. For us as disciples of Christ, however, we are always in a battle, we are forever fighting with the evil one. Looking at peace in this way how can we ever be at peace in this life?
There are many passages of scripture that speak to the theme of PEACE, and Paul begins the majority of his letters with words offering grace and peace from God to his reads. The verse spoken by the angels in the Christmas story, quoted above from Luke 2:14, speaks of peace resting on all whom God favors, and therefore peace is a gift from God, a blessing which is bestowed on his people.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
PEACE within us, no matter what is going on in this world can only be found when we are in Christ Jesus. When we are struggling or battling with anything causing tensions in our lives, then the place we need to turn to is Jesus – for he is the bringer of PEACE.
We know, and understand, that this PEACE is beyond our understanding and that when we step into it, when we live with it, one cannot explain the why and wherefore but choose to live in the tranquility that it brings – the harmony and calmness of mind, body, soul and spirit.
Last Sunday in Virtual Church our music ministry leader, Paul Buker, called all to live a life of worship, not merely connecting worship to church-time. As we step more and more into worshipping God in all we do, we are acknowledging that to respond to God in worship is to commit to his Lordship. In doing so, we adhere to the greatest commandment to love him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.
Can you see the correlation there? In loving God with our whole being we actually find peace in ourselves. The more we love God, the more of him we get to know. The more we commit to following his Son, the one whose birth we will be celebrating in under a week, the more we become like him. And the more like him, the more peace we will experience.
We have been given the written Word, which is a great blessing to us, and which points to the true blessing is the Word made flesh which came to dwell among us. Draw near to him, and he will draw near to you – this is what James writes for us. There is so much guidance within the pages of the Bible on how we can do this, far too much for me to go into in a short blog post such as this. However, the one thing I would leave you with today – a good place for you start in a bible study on peace is this:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)