May the Peace of Christ be with You, Today and Always!
As we prepare for the second Sunday of Advent, I invite you to take a few moments from the hustle and bustle of your holiday preparation to rest and relax.
This week, we will light the candle of peace, and let’s face it, we could all use a little more peace in our lives. Much of the stress we experience this time of year is of our own doing. We all make lists — long lists – which include shopping, wrapping, baking, cooking, decorating, and a range of other activities, but I’ll bet very few of us have any notations for “peaceful reflection.” There just isn’t time for that. We simply have too much else to do. Perhaps we can change that way of thinking during this Christmas season. Perhaps we can do less and enjoy it more.
Scripture makes many references to peace and the importance of pursuing it, including the Gospel of John, which reminds us that Jesus in the very foundation of peace when He says, “in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Later we would learn just how costly that peace would be as prophesied in Isaiah 53:5, which states, “[He] was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
Even before his death. Jesus promoted peace to his disciples — and by extension, his present-day followers — when he said in another passage from John’s Gospel, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” This assurance of Christ’s presence serves to bring us peace, especially in troubling and turbulent times.
The Book of Romans drives this point home even further with passages that affirm the importance of establishing a relationship with the Lord. For example, Romans 5:1 states, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” while Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.“
Much of life is fraught with uncertainty and upheaval, which raises the question, “What can we do to bring peace into our world?” The obvious answer is to live a life of righteousness as stated in Isaiah 32:17 – “the effect of righteousness will be peace, and
the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.”
What exactly is righteousness? Well, from a spiritual perspective, it can be defined as “acting in accord with divine or moral law, free from guilt or sin, morally right or justifiable.” Most of us seek to follow this directive, although we often fall short. Still,
making the effort is a positive step toward peace.
Moving forward, through the Christmas season and beyond, II Corinthians 13:11 provides this invaluable advice — “Finally, brothers [and sisters], rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of
love and peace will be with you.”
In this, the busiest of all seasons, take time for quiet reflection for it is there that you will find peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John