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Peace

Themes of Advent: Peace

Hey folks,

Tomorrow starts the second weekend of Advent.For those unfamiliar with the tradition, Advent is a season of anticipation of the coming of Jesus Christ. Just as we prepare to celebrate the Incarnation, the birth of baby Jesus, on Christmas, so we also turn our hearts, minds, and spirits towards His Second Coming. We look back in remembrance and forward in hope. Each of the four weeks leading up to Christmas carries a different theme, and today we’re going to look at the second one: Peace.

Peace at Christmas. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Maybe after the presents have been bought, the parties have been attended, the pageant costumes have been sewn, and the cookies have been baked, decorated, and packed in their cute little tins. Maybe then we can have some peace. As long as everyone likes their presents.

Does this sound like your Advent? Crazy busy with activity? Maybe it’s because you love all of it, or maybe it’s because it’s what’s expected of you. Either way, peace seems like a distant memory.

Besides, it’s cold at Christmas. It’s far more peaceful in the summer, with the barbecue fired up and a cold drink in your hand and no one asking for anything but a grilled hotdog.

Yet, in the Isaiah passage we looked at last week, the Messiah to come was to be the Prince of Peace. Should our primary cultural celebration of the Prince of Peace really be so chaotic?

Now, I’ll be the first to admit, I love all of the activities surrounding Christmas and Advent. I love parties and I love cookies and I love caroling. I love decorating our house and lighting the Advent wreath. I love writing to all of you about the wonder that can be found throughout December. It keeps me busy.

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However, there are times that my family and I need to take a step back from all the planning to make sure that we have enough time to really soak in the majesty of it all. It can become so easy to rush past the Christmas lights that we forget to marvel at the beauty of coloured lights in the darkness.

So, what can we do? Should we stop attending parties? Maybe. If they are causing you stress and not allowing you to build into your friends and family, then perhaps declining a couple invites will make all the difference in the world. Remember, we are to be agents of peace in this world. If we spread ourselves too thin, if we take on too much in the name of “holiday spirit,” then we cease to live out our calling.

Maybe this week, we can take a few minutes to think about ways we can first find peace in our own lives. This might be as simple as taking a few minutes each day to remember Jesus, the Prince of Peace, and why He came down to earth. From this starting point of peace, the activities we have during the day can become acts of worship and wonder rather than hectic to-do lists.

After we up our own peace quotient, the next step is to pass that peace on to others. This week, I would love to see dozens of random acts of peace. Whether that’s shoveling your neighbour’s driveway so they don’t have to worry about it, or bringing a meal to a family with a new baby, seek out someone who could use a little more peace in their lives. Simple acts can be so effective.

Now, take a deep breath. Let it out. Take another one. Think about how much God loves you, and how much He wants peace for your life. Let it out. Keep breathing, and find something peaceful to do today.

Blessings,

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Advent: Peace Be With You

Peace.

Just let that sink in for a minute.

No, really. Go, make a cup of tea and come back.

Now take a deep breath. And another one.

Close you eyes for a minute (but open them again so you can keep reading).

Peace.

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Photo Credit: Zigomar

Doesn’t that feel nice?

Or are you like millions of us in the West scrambling to balance work, family, the gym, Christmas shopping, Christmas decorating, Christmas partying…

I spent years growing up in church shaking hands with those around me and wishing them, “Peace be with you.” As a child, I had no idea what that really meant. It was more of a stylized way of saying “hello, nice to see you,” than actually wishing them to find a deep-seated peace. Yet, as I’ve grown, I’ve come to truly wish this kind of peace for people.

The second week of Advent is the week of Peace. Jesus Christ, before He was even born, was called the Prince of Peace. He came to give us peace in our daily lives, and will eventually bring peace to His entire Creation.

But what does that mean for us today? With tight schedules, traffic jams, rising debts and falling economies, peace seems almost like a myth sometimes, like we’re more likely to find a unicorn than real peace.

But that’s not what God promised.

This week, let’s take a few moments to really think about peace. Not just for ourselves, but for those around us. Can we offer peace to those we have been fighting with? Can we ease the troubles of our coworkers, friends, or family, and perhaps bring them a little peace? Can we just say “no” to one thing this week and instead spend time with the Author of peace?

I know I am a work-in-progress with this. Especially in the weeks leading up to Christmas Eve, when I’m scrambling to make sure rehearsals are booked, costumes are found, props are made, and all the little details are set in stone, I find peace to be a slippery fish to hold onto. But I’m trying. My wife and I try to spend some time each night slowing down and reconnecting. It’s not that we’re never busy, we just try to reconnect with He who offered us peace when we were far from Him.

This week, maybe you can try the same. Or, just start with a cup of tea. That usually helps.

Peace be with all of you.

Blessings

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