As I think of the word Peace and its meaning, I have scattered references and thoughts. As the second Sunday of Advent focuses on “peace,” the second candle is lit in the Advent wreath in church and homes across the nation and around the world. Peace often has an elusive meaning.
Most every evening we watch reruns of the TV show “MASH,” and they speak of peace talks. These affirm that communication often comes before solutions of peace, whether it occurs between nations or individuals. There is the hope that peace will come out of these talks.
Attaching some meanings to the word Peace, I think of calm after a storm, release from stressful situations, being settled into a routine that works, and restful sleep. Just this morning I awoke out of a dead sleep and saw Bill, fully dressed, staring at me from the foot of the bed. My first thought was not peaceful, but awareness of breakfast not being ready. Up and at it through a foggy mind not ready for the start of the day. Peace came later when we sat at the table and Bill offered the blessing.
Jesus came as the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). The angels announced his birth to lowly shepherds: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14). But we note that those who first received the announcement (Zechariah, Mary, the shepherds, Joseph) were troubled and had to be told, “Be not afraid” (Luke 1:11, 30; 2:10; Matthew 1:20). Fear and peace do not co-exist. Then Zechariah’s song included a request for God “to guide our feet into the path of peace” (Luke 1:79), a fitting plea from us today.
As I read Psalm 125, it closes with “May Israel have peace!” At first I questioned the exclamation mark behind the word peace, for it emphasizes what’s active, not calming. Yet peace can be in an active voice, directing us to work at what will accomplish peace in our ordinary lives. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May we also pray and work for peace daily.
In today’s mail, we received a creative homemade Christmas card featuring a dove. Its title: “Peace on Earth.” The inside greeting: “Wishing you a calm and blessed Christmas filled with the true peace of Christ the Lord.” Thanks to Terri & Rick.