Monday, December 19, 2016
The Words Of Advent - Peace
Since the beginning of human history, there has been a struggle for peace. In every generation and in every century since the Garden of Eden, sin and war and evil have robbed us of peace. Take one look at local, national or international media and you'll see no end of friction and fighting in sight.
But the fourth Advent candle reminds us that peace has already been here.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
The Old Testament prophet penned these words that described the coming Messiah. While He would be known by many names and character traits, the one Isaiah closed with was Prince of Peace. In a land ravaged by war and a people in constant battle with enemies physical and spiritual, the Savior of the world was going to come with a message of peace for His believers.
Imagine the men in the synagogue hearing about a prince of peace. It was a precious name, one that would give them hope and an anticipation for His arrival. No matter how terrible the world around them was, or how much tumult was going on inside them, there was a coming Prince who promised everlasting peace.
But this wasn't the only time Isaiah spoke of peace.
Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3
The peace of God is perfect, and those who seek it will find it. It's perfectly reasonable to ask the Lord for peace - in your heart, in your mind, in your home, in the world around you. Enough of our lives are spent being stirred up by bad weather, crazy people and the evil that only wants to rob us of our peace. Praying for the perfect peace of God lets Him know that we are turning our backs on the chaos of the world and are prepared to feel the all-consuming peace that only He can provide.
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:14
This favorite Christmas verse was spoken by the angels to the shepherds watching their flocks by night. Peace Himself had arrived that very night, and they were invited to see Him in the flesh. They could have used any words they wanted - or chosen from the long list Isaiah had made - but the word "peace" was the best choice.
The life of a shepherd would have included long hours of walking and standing, constantly scanning the horizon for signs of water, pasture land and possible enemies. The shepherd couldn't relax, for that might have been the moment he would have been needed most. So to know the Anointed One was bringing peace with Him would have resonated with them.
And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Mark 4:39
Jesus Christ Himself used the word "peace" many times in the Scriptures. Here He showed His disciples that nature itself, which He had created, would respond to His peace as well. And even if He never calms the storm that swirls around us, He will always calm the storm that rages within us. One word of peace and the wind ceased. There wasn't just a little calm, but a great peace that surged in waves over everyone.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. Philippians 4:7-9
If you're like me, your mind is racing most of the day, trying to keep track of the who, what, when, where, why and how in minute-by-minute detail. That peace that we don't even have the proper words to describe can fill us at those times, slowing us down and encouraging us to just breathe. When the mind is calm and thinking on the true, honest, just, pure and lovely words of good report, we can feel the presence of the God of peace. It is in those moments that we can relax and regroup, keeping Him in our minds and hearts as He keeps our hearts and minds.
What an amazing, powerful message behind this final Advent candle. Peace is so needed in our world today, and it starts by rooting and grounding itself in the hearts of Christians.
Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:16