We are in the midst of Advent. Advent – the arrival of a notable person or event. Advent – derived from the Latin word for “coming.” Advent – a season observed in Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation to celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas.
We are in this season of joy and hope and peace! Yet I rarely feel peaceful. I find myself in stalled traffic or long lines at the store – the ironic sound of “It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas” playing in the background as I’m silently cursing the noisy and sometimes vicious crowds around me. The “to do” list piles up! (It is a bad sign when baking Christmas cookies with your kids becomes just another thing on that stressful list of things to get done before December 25!)
This is NOT Advent – this is NOT the peace we seek!
At our mid-week service this week we had the opportunity to meditate – to close our eyes and quietly seek peace in the presence of God. I was sitting right next to my son. The lights dimmed, and the slow, quiet voice of the pastor guided us away from our hectic lives and into a place with peaceful images, calming sounds, and the pure peace of God in our midst.
My son leaned into me, and I rested my chin on top of his head – breathing in his scent and feeling the warmth from his closeness. I worked to push aside the many things in life that detract me from peace. Busy schedules, worries for the future, deep fear of this scary world that seems to become more volatile every day!
I was very focused on myself – my own lack of peace. But my son shifted beside me and my attention turned to him. As we are directed to seek peace and set aside worry, where is his mind at? What is he thinking of? What things in life take away from his sense of peace??
I am often so concerned with my own lack of peace that I forget to consider those around me! Everyone is fighting the same (or far worse!) battles and coping with the same scary world. Even the youngest around us – and even my dear son cuddled next to me!
When I acknowledge this, I can turn my attention away from my own problems and help others set aside their worries and find peace – a peace which they can only find through faith in God!
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
This, my friends, is what we are called to do. WE must bring God’s peace to the world!