Last Advent Reflection: Peace

Peace is not always the absence of conflict, but calm in the center of the storm. Peace is something Jesus promised and gave to his disciples in the midst of their fear, and in future conflict and persecution they would face (my peace I give you...) and Jesus was called to peace.These are the prophetic words of Zechariah, John the Baptist's father, speaking of Jesus' calling.

To shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace. (Luke 1:76–79)

Jesus is also our peace. Because of Jesus' death on the cross he obliterated the wall that separates us from God, and the wall that separates us from one another. 

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility… Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household… (Ephesians 2:14,19)

Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He brings peace to those places in the world that are living in darkness, looking for light to break in. Sometimes it's in the darkest places that Jesus shines brightly. And he calls his followers to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9), to let peace rule (or reign) in our hearts because we are called to peace. 

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:12–15)

How can we be peacemakers in my heart, family, neighborhood, church and workplace? Henri Nouwen said we become peacemakers by focusing on Jesus.

“Keep your eyes on the Prince of Peace, the one who doesn’t cling to his divine power; the one who refuses to turn stones into bread, jump from great heights, and rule with great power; the one who says, ‘blessed are the poor, the gentle, those who mourn, those who hunger and thirst for justice, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those persecuted for justice.’ See the one who touches the lame, the crippled, and the blind; the one who speaks words of forgiveness and encouragement; the one who dies alone, rejected, and despised. Keep your eyes on him who becomes poor with the poor, weak with the weak, and who is rejected with the rejected. That one, Jesus, is the source of all peace.” (Finding My Way Home)

Peace on earth. May we celebrate peace and make peace this Christmas.


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