* This post is part of an Advent devotional, being posted daily during Advent 2014. For an intro to this series of posts, please read the initial post here.
Second Sunday of Advent: 7 December – Unshakeable Peace
Our attempts at peace are so fragile. But really, how could they be more than that? Almost since the beginning, we have distrusted each other and hidden ourselves in shame. We live not as human beings, but as suspicious beings. We doubt each other’s sincerity. We question each other’s motives. We look to protect ourselves first and only trust others as long as they agree with us. How can there be peace, when everyone is a potential enemy? And when we pause long enough and our honest enough with ourselves and each other, we realize that we do not have peace with each other because we do not have peace with God. Where is the peace that will light our way?
Pause for a time of silent prayer.
Read: Luke 1:26-38
(light two candles) How fitting that God’s messengers so often announce God’s peace. Their “Do not be afraid” sets the tone for hope-filled messages of peace. Though we crave God’s presence, we also fear God seeing us for who we really are. Though we get angry when God seems absent, we are afraid of what would happen to us if God really did show up. For all the good news that has been proclaimed in Christian scripture, we still imagine God as a temperamental deity who delights in placing sinners on his cosmic naughty list. Peace with God seems so elusive to us. How gracious then that the angels, God’s messengers, call out to us “Do not be afraid.” Gabriel announces God’s favor and God’s peace to Mary because “God is with you!” And indeed, the God of all peace was with Mary and with all of us. The Prince of Peace was coming into the world, ushering God into the midst of our fearful and distrusting realities. God became one of us that we might be reconciled with God and each other. And in so doing, God has given us the gift of an unshakable peace, rooted not in our attempts to be with God, but in God’s commitment to be with us.
We light these candles to remember that Jesus Christ is the light of the world. In his light, we receive the peace of God’s faithfulness. In Jesus Christ, God has reconciled us to himself and in doing so calls us to live at peace with each other, entrusting to us the ongoing ministry of reconciliation. Even now, the Spirit is at work forming us to be a people who lay down our lives as living sacrifices of God’s peace. And soon, Jesus Christ will return, ushering in a peace – God’s shalom – in which all of creation will flourish forever. See the light of Jesus Christ is coming!
Come quickly, Lord Jesus, that the light of your life may bring the unshakeable peace that causes all of creation to flourish! Amen.