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Advent Reflection Series: Peace in all the world

The second Sunday of Advent dawned under a blanket of snow. I looked out my window, watching snow cascade from the sky and clothe all the world in white.

In church, we sang carols and listened to scripture readings. We pondered the praise of the angels in Luke 2:14, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

It’s the second week of Advent, and the global church continues to anticipate the coming celebration of Jesus’ birth. As they lit the second candle on the Advent wreath, many churches meditate on peace and the coming Prince of Peace.

Defining Peace

In the past I’ve thought of peace in terms of what it’s not—a lack of angst, an absence of fear, or a dearth of worry. Like the snow outside my window, it gently accumulates until forms disappear, lost beneath its pure whiteness and leaving stillness in its wake.

One of the definitions of peace from Merriam Webster is “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.” But while Biblical peace certainly includes inner calm, it’s not limited to this definition.

To start off last week at the base at Monday morning worship, we watched a short video from The Bible Project about the Biblical definition peace. The Biblical definition of peace goes beyond the mere absence of conflict to a vision of restoration and a situation that is complete and whole.

This is the peace that God can infuse into my heart through faith and trust in Him. Regardless of circumstances, I can hold unto this peace. But what does God’s complete and restorative peace look like beyond myself? What does His peace mean in terms of families, communities and nations?

Peace in the Nations

Every Thursday morning we have a community-wide intercession time when we pray for different things. Depending on what’s happening in the world, we could pray for a specific country, news item, or topic.

This week we united in prayer for the Middle East, asking God to bring peace to this region of the world. As we prayed, we asked God for more than just a lack of conflict, but also that His plans and purposes for these nations would take place. That a healing of broken relationships would take place and that nations would work in harmony.

Jesus is the ultimate peacemaker, reconciling us to the Father and bringing restoration into our lives. This week, as I celebrate Advent and the Prince of Peace, I’m asking myself how God’s peace can come into our lives as individuals and also the world.

Isaiah 9:6-7 shows the scope of Biblical peace when it says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.”

To read the first post in our Advent series, click here.

 

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