I hear the word sung in Christmas carols. I read it in Christmas cards. It was even proclaimed by the angels at Jesus’ birth. They shouted, “Peace on earth,” didn’t they? But with all this peace talk, why do we see so much conflict around us?
Why does my life seem frantic and restless?
Why does the peace of God seem so far away?
When you boil it all down, that’s what it comes down to, doesn’t it? God seems distant from our lives here on earth. We don’t know at what point we became numb, but we know deep in our hearts, that the aliveness in God that we once had is gone. Our lives seem empty, peace-LESS.
And then, God breaks through into our lives through the power of His spirit. It is in these surprising moments of new life, new relationships and new conversations that we experience Advent. As author Robert E Webber writes,
“ADVENT IS THE TIME WHEN GOD BREAKS IN ON US WITH NEW SURPRISES AND TOUCHES US WITH A RENEWING AND RESTORING POWER TO BRING US PEACE.”
But how? HOW do we get to the point of real power? I don’t have a specific answer for you.
As I think about Mary and Joseph on that holy night so long ago, it seems like a chaotic situation. A young couple is away from home. No hotel. The woman gives birth in a cave with animals standing around. Later, shepherds show up to marvel and worship. If this isn’t God’s peace in the middle of a messy and surprising situation, I don’t know what is!
As some of you know, we are in a new relationship with a birth mom. She is in a chaotic situation that reminds of Mary and Joseph. She is expecting a new baby in January. As we get to know her, I am learning to live God’s peace in the middle of chaos. God’s peace doesn’t always look like a Christmas card…sometimes it’s a messy peace.
So I don’t have answer for you. I don’t know how this will happen for you. It might be a person who gives you a new perspective, like it is for me. Or, it might mean that you sit down and make a list of all the things you are doing and ask a couple questions:
- Is that activity making you crazy?
- Is it pushing you towards God or away from Him?
- Pray over your list. What guidance is God giving you?
Another way of processing is to find music that helps you focus on the peace of God breaking through…songs that lead you to better understand his peace. For me this year, that song is “Gloria” by Josh Garrels. The song reminds me that the story of God coming to earth is “ancient, but never old”. It speaks of our new life and hope in Christ. The surprising soul sound reminds me that God breaks in on us. Not only that, the song ends with musical chaos that resolves to a simple peace. (video below)
Vs1: Here the sound of bells ring
In the cold night air we sing
Songs of joy, peace, and love
Say goodnight and journey home
Through the leafless woods alone
Silence in the snow is like a dream
Pre Ch: Diamonds on the hills reflect the thrill
Of all the glory that has fallen to the earth
All of life’s surrendering
To the death that winter brings
In hope of new life
Ch: On this holy night
We remember Christ
Vs2: Come in from the cold
Come and rest your soul
Join us by the fire
Tonight the stories told
Ancient but never old
Of when the Savior came
Pre Ch: All the angels sang
Peace on earth good will to men
A child has been born
And all of us are suffering
Beneath the weight of death and sin
In hope of new life
All our hopes made good in Christ
Let us live in the messy peace of new hope and life…