Advent: Peace

This week at work has been pretty wretched. It would be crazeballs of me to blog about work (that’s how people get fired!), but suffice it to say this week has left me thankful that one of the advent themes to reflect on is peace.

Peace is rich, partly because it’s not mayhem.

I don’t want to just say some cute, flowery phrase that turns out to be meaningless, so I will try to explain what I mean.

I consider chaos, confusion, and mayhem to be negative things. But the only reason I can say that is because peace is a thing. Mayhem is an absence of peace. Peace is the good thing, the defining value, not the other way around. Peace is not a lack of chaos. Chaos is a lack of peace. I’m not C.S. Lewis. I’m not saying this right. I can’t say things like he can say things!

I have seen what the enemy can do when peace is lacking. I have heard the lies he can tell. I have seen the messes he can make.

But peace is not just the opposite of that, it’s more. Peace doesn’t just mean things are calm. Peace doesn’t mean “lack of conflict.” I love the way a book called “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” talks about peace:

When, out of fear, we avoid conflict and appease people, we are false peacemakers.”

“...the way of true peace will never come through pretending that what is wrong is right! True peacemakers love God, others, and themselves enough to disrupt false peace. Jesus models this for us.”

The Prince of Peace doesn’t pretend like the darkness isn’t there. The darkness and chaos and confusion are voids, voids lacking peace, and He fills them. He walks right in.

It’s easy to chase serenity, but that is not what our Prince did.

He got all up in our face and saved the world. (It’s really crazy that no one is begging me to write a Christmas book, when I’m such a vivid story-teller!)

This still leaves me wondering…

If peace is the absence of mayhem, but not necessarily calm times, what is peace?

I was reading the epic peace hymn tonight (It Is Well With My Soul), and briefly experienced a peace-void. I read the line, “Christ has regarded my helpless estate…”

I immediately thought, “but I am not helpless. I create a lot of problems for myself. I’m not a victim of someone else’s trouble-making. My family didn’t drown, like the writer of this song. This epic peace hymn is not for me today.”

Enter baby Jesus.

He shed His own blood for my soul! He didn’t just shed it for the souls of people who are always nice, and have awesome times, and are super good at life. That’s like, the whole point of Christmas, of Easter, of everything, forever! My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought, my sin, not in part, but the whole…It’s nailed to the cross. I bear it no more. Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, oh my soul!

The peace that leaves me in awe, the peace I can’t describe even though I ramble about its “opposites”, the peace that shook the foundations of the whole world and everything in it,

is the peace that silences any faint suggestion that the promises of God given to us in the person of Jesus Christ are not for me,

the peace that showed up in a smelly, undesirable, crowded, peace-voidy corner of the world when Jesus was born.

He walked right in and brought us this peace, because He is this peace.

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